GSA's Green Proving Ground Tests New Lighting Technology to Reduce Energy Consumption

Energy efficiency has long been a priority within the federal government.  The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) was enacted to improve federal energy performance, including an annual reduction in energy consumption in federal facilities.  In November 2015, GSA reported a 30% reduction in building energy use intensity (EUI) over 2003 baseline levels in federally-owned buildings.  

But the federal government is not stopping there.  To achieve further success in reducing energy consumption, President Obama signed Executive Order 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade, calling for an additional 2.5% annual reduction in EUI through 2025 over 2015 baseline levels.   

GSA continues to implement a variety of strategies to improve energy performance.  This includes evaluating emerging technologies through our Green Proving Ground (GPG) program.  The GSA GPG program partners with private sector research laboratories to perform real-world evaluations of potential energy, water, and cost saving technologies that can be used in our federal buildings, and recommended to the U.S. commercial building industry at large.  

One potential energy saving technology GPG recently assessed is light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures with integrated controls.  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star® program, lighting consumes close to 35% of the electricity used in U.S. commercial buildings.  Upgrading lighting systems with efficient fixtures and controls can reduce energy use, improve the visual environment, and even impact the size of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems – LED lighting produces less heat, reducing the building’s cooling requirements.

LED fixtures with integrated advanced lighting controls were tested at the Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building in Chicago, IL, and the Peachtree Summit Federal Building in Atlanta, GA.  Utilizing occupancy and daylight sensors, the LED fixtures achieved lighting energy savings of 69% compared to the GSA average.  Payback for facilities with a GSA average usage and utility rate is 3 to 4 years for renovations and 10 to 14 years for retrofits.  For GSA retrofits, the average savings exceeds investment by 40%.

Visit the GSA Green Proving Ground to learn more about LED fixtures, and other sustainable technologies we are testing to improve facility performance and reduce energy usage in the federal inventory.

This article is part of the Winter issue of the FOCUS newsletter. Please visit the Focus Newsletter page to read our newsletter. To subscribe to FOCUS, complete the online subscription form.

Last Reviewed 2015-12-15