Case study: Lighting control panel upgrade provides dramatic improvement for a university

Lander University in Greenwood, S.C., relied on a programmable relay-based system installed in the mid-1980s to provide energy-saving scheduled control of lighting and equipment for its most vital buildings. The system was in need of an upgrade.

12/18/2007


Lander University in Greenwood, S.C., relied on a programmable relay-based system installed in the mid-1980s to provide energy-saving scheduled control of lighting and equipment for its most vital buildings.
While the system, which controlled the learning center, cultural center, student center, and athletic complex, served its purpose initially, the controls had become antiquated and unreliable. After experiencing numerous disruptions to classes and events, engineers at the state university set out to research replacement options. The school’s engineering services department personnel priced equipment and installation costs, and eventually found a solution.
For less than 10% of the cost of a new system, they could refurbish the existing panels to create a modern control system. The university could significantly extend the life of its capital equipment and avoid sending materials to a landfill. Additionally, the upgrade would take much less time than a full replacement.
After more than 20 years of service and numerous undocumented modifications, the original control system was only about 75% functional. Some relays had failed on; the lights were operational, but power was wasted. The time required to program the system for special events was prohibitive, and the process was risky, because the disk drive needed to load even a single change was unreliable and obsolete. And because of staff turnover, no one really understood the system.
Campus engineers need reliable controls that are easy to program. An early adopter of scheduled control, Lander University is among one of the most energy-efficient campuses in the state, as reported by the South Carolina Energy Office. In addition to lighting, the relays power water-source heat pumps and other electrical devices, so careful scheduling is truly central to conservation efforts.
The newly retrofitted system allows Internet protocol control of all the panels. Engineers can create and modify schedules for equipment and lighting in individual spaces including common areas, classrooms, labs, and offices. To maximize energy savings, engineers programmed most of the lighting for manual-on, using previously installed low-voltage switches, and scheduled-off. Certain overrides are available, but engineers now prefer to adjust the control schedule as needed.
“Normally equipment and lighting goes off around 5 p.m., but for special events or seminars, we can have just one specific area turn off at 9 p.m., for example,” said staff engineer Ralph Jenkins. “It used to be a nightmare to do this, but with the new scheduling software it’s easy. The system has lots of bells and whistles and is very user-friendly.”
Engineers finished the panel upgrade during spring break in 2007 so that there was no disruption to classes or other events. Lander engineering personnel performed the work themselves under the direction of a technician, and so they became more familiar with the system and will better be able to service it in the years ahead.
The upgrade process involved replacing the main control card in each panel with a new card and thoroughly testing and inspecting the panel. Any failed relays were replaced. Additionally, the bulky old controller was replaced with a small dataline power supply to power the low-voltage controls. Wiring was run for a data communications link and the WebLink, and scheduling is now performed in a convenient location on a PC.
Retrofitting the old relay system allowed Lander University to continue using the portion of the controls with the longest service life while replacing parts that were obsolete. Because the panels themselves did not have to be replaced, installation costs were minimal, and the project didn’t require the services of an outside contractor.
The controls have been brought back to 100% operation and the existing system has been fully documented. Strict control of energy use, which in 2004 was a scant 67.42 kBtu/sq. ft—well below the state average of 123.93 kBtu/sq. ft for campuses with housing—is now much easier and the staff expects to be able to achieve additional savings in the future using the many options afforded by the new controls.
For more about lighting controls from Watt Stopper/Legrand, click here .





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.