When thinking of ways to reduce energy usage and costs, many facility owners look to solutions like lighting controls, upgraded HVAC systems, and renewable energy sources, such as rooftop solar PV systems. The company that owns part of Atlantic Station — a 138-acre entertainment, office, and residential community in Midtown Atlanta that is home to some of the city’s most popular restaurants, retailers, and employers — chose to take a different route to achieve this goal. By investing just $600,000 in energy-efficient parking garage luminaires, the company expects to realize approximately $125,000 in energy savings per year.

“Atlantic Station features one of the largest — if not the largest — enclosed parking decks in the Southeast,” notes Chris Rogers, CEO and president of Alpharetta, Ga.-based Rogers Electric, the electrical contractor that performed the lighting retrofit. “The garage contains 7,200 spaces spread out over three levels. Over a 15-week period, eight members of our team worked five days a week to remove the existing HID lamps and retrofit them with T5 lamps. It was a one-for-one swap. We performed this on approximately 3,000 luminaires.”

Although the project sounds straight forward, it wasn’t without difficulties, according to Rogers.

“The retrofit started at the end of September and continued through the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, with a December 31 finish,” he explains. “Our biggest challenge was staying on schedule during the busiest shopping time of the year at one of the most popular retail venues in Atlanta. Ensuring that power to the luminaires we were retrofitting on a given day was turned off was also extremely important, in addition to delivering materials in a timely manner to the correct areas.”

Because the parking deck is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, closing large sections of the garage while retrofitting the luminaires wasn’t an option. This forced Rogers Electric employees to work in cordoned-off areas still accessible to vehicles. To ensure its employees and the Atlantic Station patrons remained injury free, the electrical contractor held regular safety meetings and kept a project manager on-site at all times.

“To further limit the risk of injury and the impact of the parking deck’s operations, we worked from midnight to 10 a.m.,” Rogers says. “These unconventional hours made this project pretty unique for us. Another unique aspect was the fact that we performed the new construction build on the original parking deck back in 2002. Getting to do a reinstall on our original work as lighting technology continues to advance isn’t something we experience all that often.”

In addition to the parking deck luminaire retrofit, the electrical contractor also upgraded lamps in the garage stairwells with LED products. To accompany the brighter luminaires installed by Rogers Electric, the company that leases and manages the property is investing approximately $1.5 million in way-finding signage in the parking deck and at the street level. Furthermore, all three parking deck levels have received a fresh coat of paint to further increase lighting levels.

The Atlantic Station project finished on time and without any recordable injuries.