School excels in lighting controls

When Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., upgraded its Middle School building, the administration decided that in order to live up to the school's Quaker ideal of environmental stewardship, the building would be transformed into a $21 million LEED Platinum certified facility. Sidwell was able to attain that rating due to a host of sustainable design features, including the EcoSystem lig...


When Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., upgraded its Middle School building, the administration decided that in order to live up to the school's Quaker ideal of environmental stewardship, the building would be transformed into a $21 million LEED Platinum certified facility. Sidwell was able to attain that rating due to a host of sustainable design features, including the EcoSystem lighting control solution from Lutron, Coopersburg, Pa.

As the facility manager, Steve Sawyer was given an additional mandate: He was told the Middle School building (grades 5%%MDASSML%%8), built in 1950, must set an example for environmental consciousness, exceeding the eco-friendly standard of other secondary schools in the country.

Sidwell Friends School is the first secondary school to receive the LEED Platinum designation and the first structure of any type to achieve that certification in the District of Columbia. Ground was broken in June 2005 and the project was completed in September 2006.

The project was a combination of renovation (37,000 sq. ft) and addition (39,000 sq. ft). It incorporates many sustainable lighting design features, including:

  • Lutron's EcoSystem lighting control solution. Installed throughout the building, the controls provide energy-efficient fluorescent lighting, integrating daylight sensors, occupancy sensors, and dimming ballasts.

  • Light shelf. Installed into the fa%%CBOTTMDT%%ade, the shelf transmits daylight deep into the building while shading the corridors from direct sun.

  • Western red cedar cladding, suncreens, and high-performance windows. Exterior walls of the addition and third floor of the existing building make use of these features.

  • Photovoltaic panels. These generate 5% of the overall building's electrical load.

On average, lighting accounts for about 55% of an educational facility's electricity use, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Lutron maintains that typically the Eco-System lighting system can cut a building's lighting energy use as much as 60%, but Michael Saxenian, Sidwell's assistant head of school and CFO said that, “overall, with our more efficient lighting system, better use of daylight, and the resulting reduction in air conditioning load, the school expects to reduce total energy use associated with lighting by 92%. Because of that, EcoSystem is a core component of Sidwell Friends School's strategy of using lifecycle payback to finance more efficient energy systems.” Representatives at the school said the model has not been measured since the school's opening to gauge the prediction and actual performance.

The EcoSystem lighting control solution senses changes in lighting needs based on the amount of natural light entering the building throughout the day, and reacts dynamically to those changes by modifying the learning environment in ways intended to improve productivity and reduce energy costs. The connection between a building and the productivity of its occupants has been gaining acceptance through numerous studies dating back to the 1920s.

Sidwell officials say the installation of Lutron's EcoSystem lighting control solution was part of a larger strategy to achieve student productivity gains from improved exterior lighting.

Sawyer said EcoSystem's personal control flexibility—what he calls its “user-adjustability”—has been a popular feature in the school. “Teachers have a full range of choices when it comes to overall lighting levels and the use of uplighting or downlighting,” Sawyer said. “If the teachers are using a smartboard or a projector, the students have no problem seeing the information. If the students are at a computer, the lighting level is easily adjusted so there's no glare. It really helps create a classroom environment that's most conducive to learning.”

The building's “report card” bears impressive numbers: Lighting energy consumption is expected to be cut by 92%, and overall energy use has been reduced by 55%.

Information provided by Lutron, Coopersburg, Pa.


Engineers from Bruce E. Brooks & Assocs., Philadelphia, installed Lutron's EcoSystem lighting control solution at Sidwell Friends School.

EcoSystem reacts to natural daylight entering the building using environmental sensors, dimming ballasts, and controls. The system integrates daylight harvesting, occupant sensing, tuning, and personal override controls.

EcoSystem also includes plug-and-play components that communicate via lowvoltage wires. As building needs change, EcoSystem may be reprogrammed without recircuiting.

EcoSystem typically reduces a building's lighting energy use and costs by 60%.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 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...
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me