Lighting controls: LEED Platinum in 15 days

In 2008, Boston-based developer Leggat McCall Properties decided to outfit its new 10,000-sq-ft office with energy-harvesting products from lighting control company ILLUMRA, a member of the EnOcean Alliance.


In 2008, Boston-based developer Leggat McCall Properties decided to outfit its new 10,000-sq-ft office with energy-harvesting products from lighting control company ILLUMRA, a member of the EnOcean Alliance. ILLUMRA is a supplier of self-powered, battery-free wireless lighting control and energy management systems in North America.

The interior fit-up project, referred to as “15 Days,” was initially anticipated to take 12 weeks to complete. Instead, the project team utilized an unconventional approach by employing rapidly deployable energy-harvesting sensors and radio frequency (RF) technologies. By setting aggressive benchmarks and adopting a forward-thinking implementation process, the project was completed in less than three weeks.

The new space was constructed to the U.S. Green Building Council LEED Platinum standard and included raised-access flooring, displacement air system, low-W/sq ft lighting, and demountable wall systems. To save energy and reduce the costs associated with hardwired systems, Commodore Builders and Audrey O’Hagan Architects chose wireless switching technology. On day 12 of the project, an ILLUMRA wireless lighting control system was quickly installed, saving money on both labor and materials. System components included self-powered light switches, relay receivers, and low-voltage room controllers.

No new wires

Wireless energy management systems are popular in retrofit scenarios, but the Leggat McCall project is a great example of why they can be advantageous in a build-out as well. In the Leggat McCall building, wireless technology was chosen over a fixed wiring solution to save on expensive copper cabling and its labor-intensive installation requirements. The ability to rapidly install the lighting controls was crucial to meet the accelerated project completion objectives.

In retrofit installations, using an ILLUMRA energy management system can minimize office closures and disruptions by averting traditional wiring obstacles. The project specifications also required the lighting controls to operate on a maintenance-free basis, which was accomplished with ILLUMRA’s EnOcean-enabled, battery-less energy harvesting technology.

Rapid deployment and ROI

The conventional placement of lights, switches, and traveler wires can consume valuable time and add days to a project. ILLUMRA controls, however, do not use switch leg or traveler wires and can be surface mounted anywhere, even after the building is finished. This eliminates difficulties arising from design revisions and change orders.

This flexibility speeds up electrical planning and simplifies installations, delivering an adaptable wireless control system that cuts costs, saves on labor, accelerates completion time, and increases profits. These receivers are easily installed with light fixtures, and light switches can be added at convenient locations for building occupants.

LEED and lighting controls

In combination with other approved systems, technology provided by ILLUMRA can be applied to LEED credits in the categories of sustainable sites, energy and atmosphere, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design or operations. EnOcean-enabled lighting controls provided Leggat McCall with personal control of lighting and integration with other building systems. In addition to environmental benefits, energy-harvesting technology offers economic benefits for end users, including energy savings, reduction in peak demand, increased lamp and ballast life, improved environmental management and tracking, increased building value, and improved employee productivity.

As a result of the project, Leggat McCall reduced its utility spending by 40%,” said Karl Neubauer, senior vice president of Leggat McCall.  “In addition, lighting power density is 50% less than the previous footprint on a different floor in the same building and 30% less than Massachusetts energy code requirements.”  The Leggat McCall HQ project exceeded its original goal of being LEED certified and became Boston’s first LEED Commercial Interiors project to reach Platinum certification.

Information provided by EnOcean Alliance

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