Ernst & Young HQ Retrofit to Halve Lighting Costs, Save $1m a Year

August 1, 2012 By Linda Hardesty

JAS Consulting, Philips Lightolier Energy Service Group and One Lux Studio have completed a lighting retrofit project at Ernst & Young’s US headquarters in New York City that E&Y says will cut the building’s annual energy use by 2.9 million kWh and reduce its annual CO2 emissions by about 2 million pounds.
Located in Times Square, the office space of about 650,000 useable-square-feet supports around 5,800 Ernst & Young employees. With the large employee population, the existing traditional lighting system consumed roughly 6.2 million kWh annually.
The new lighting system uses customized LED fixtures to reduce the firm’s annual lighting energy use by 54 percent and improve the facility’s quality of light, E&Y says. Additionally, the project will reduce the firm’s lighting-related energy and maintenance costs by more than 50 percent, saving the firm $1 million annually.
E&Y is seeking Energy Star certification for the Times Square building and the company says that the retrofit should help it achieve that goal. By the end of 2013, the firm plans to have a majority of its employees working in LEED- or Energy Star-certified space.
E&Y’s global data center in New Jersey earned an Energy Star rating in 2011. An upgrade to this facility included improvements to equipment layout for increased air flow and HVAC optimization. These changes resulted in savings of about 1.5 million kWh per year, which reduced power usage effectiveness from 2.0 down to 1.52.
In July this year, Lutron Electronics announced that it had installed a lighting control system in New York’s Empire State Building that could save the iconic New York landmark as much as 65 percent in lighting-energy costs. Lutron says that, by installing its system, the Empire State Building’s installed payback period for lighting controls was reduced from six years to 2.75 years.
Also in July, Michael C. Polentz and Clayton B. Gantz of Manatt, Phelps & Phllips wrote a column for Environmental Leader explaining why they think retrofits of commercial buildings will be the next big thing.

One comment on “Ernst & Young HQ Retrofit to Halve Lighting Costs, Save $1m a Year

  1. Saving $1 million is an impressive number for E & Y. UNLESS the up front investment was $20 million, in which case it isn’t so wonderful!! This type of report so often puts out great-looking absolute figures but it would be so much more informative if we had some simple indication of the entire financial equation such as IRR or even payback period. Without it, we’re left saying: “Well, yes, that’s nice environmentally but did it make financial sense?”

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