The Village of Palatine, Ill., is a growing suburban community located 25 miles northwest of Chicago. The Gateway Center Parking Garage is one of several public parking facilities operated by the city. Recently, Palatine felt the impact of the federal stimulus package on both its energy and maintenance costs when it retrofitted the four-tier garage with LED lighting fixtures.

Director of Public Works Matthew Barry looked for ways to improve the village infrastructure and reduce operating costs. The village’s access to a federal energy grant came via a State of Illinois, Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity grant.

Requirements for a grant on a project of this nature included an ROI of seven years or less.

In the spring of 2010, Barry approached Walker Parking Consultants in nearby Elgin for assistance in finding ways to improve the Gateway Center Garage lighting. The initial project design goals included reducing energy costs, reducing maintenance costs, maintaining existing lighting levels, increasing visibility, and providing an installation that created the fastest ROI.

Brad Navarro, the project engineer from Walker, conducted a series of studies that included test installations of LED luminaires from six different manufacturers. Products were considered only if their design specs could meet the IESNA requirements for minimum light levels in parking structures. Each installation was evaluated over a one-month period. The installations were reviewed for performance, visual acceptability, and aesthetics.

Garage users were surveyed to see what they liked best. Even the elected officials of the village were given the opportunity to review the installations, since they would make the final decision in awarding the contract. Based on Navarro’s test results, Barry recommended the PS14 series parking garage luminaire from EvoLucia Lighting to the village board. Lighting levels were similar to the existing lighting, with low glare and the highest uniformity provided of the tested units.

The 451 existing metal-halide luminaires in the garage consumed 232W each. Power draw of the new LED luminaire is 90W, saving more than 140W per luminaire. A cost analysis showed a simple payback on incremental cost of 1.22 years, while the 10-year IRR, cash basis, was 84.5%.

The PS14 LED luminaire uses Cree XP-G Series white light LEDs, featuring a 6000K cool white light and 73.4 CRI. The electronic LED driver from Thomas Research Products is a universal voltage (100V to 277V) Class 2 constant-current output device, featuring a 100,000-hour rated life. High-power factor correc¬tion (>0.95) maximizes power utilization. With built-in over-voltage, over-current, over-temperature, and short circuit protection, the driver will automatically recover, so that the luminaire does not require the power to be cycled to clear a fault.

The selected luminaire design allowed a direct one-for-one replacement of all existing luminaires. No circuits needed to be updated. Using the existing trunion mounting hardware further reduced the initial material and labor costs. Steve Simon, owner of Public Electric Construction, Inc., was the contractor on the project. He noted that removing each previous luminaire and installing the new one took less than 18 minutes.