The federal government is increasingly incorporating advanced lighting control systems in its energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) as part of its effort to reduce energy use in federal facilities, reports the Federal Times.
Lighting consumes a big chunk of the total electricity used in a commercial building – nearly 38 percent. Lighting control can result in energy savings up to 60 percent, and a total cost savings of more than 20 percent, when incorporated within the scope of an energy retrofit. In addition to traditional energy-saving measures like occupancy sensors that deliver immediate, short-term results, ESPCs may include advanced strategies, such as daylight harvesting, that maximize energy efficiency and control over time. According to the General Services Administration (GSA), daylight harvesting, combined with automatic dimming control, has the potential to contribute significant energy savings throughout its portfolio.
ESPCs don’t have to include the installation of energy-saving LED lighting fixtures if they are cost prohibitive. Instead, the contract can include lighting control strategies that allow for the immediate use of fluorescent fixtures but have the capability to use LED fixtures in the future.
Federal agencies are realizing that if the ESPC does not provide for advanced lighting control strategies, a critical system in their facilities will be unable to connect with the smart grid or building management systems for the duration of the contract — typically 15–20 years.
The contract duration also allows facilities to incorporate items that have a longer payback such as renewable energy sources or new chillers.