Bank of America Plaza is one of the most prestigious office properties in Los Angeles. Completed in 1974, it was the first high-rise structure to tower over the downtown cityscape. Today, it is a model of energy efficiency, featuring cutting-edge technologies that minimize power consumption and utility bills.
Brookfield Properties has significantly invested in Bank of America Plaza modernization over the past three years. Brookfield had plans to upgrade the lighting equipment in the skyscraper’s parking garage and was exploring options when California Retrofit, Inc. (CRI), introduced them to the latest breakthrough in ballast technology.
Unveiled in 2008 by Universal Lighting Technologies, DEMANDflex™ ballasts feature an adjustable ballast factor so that installers can “tune” ballasts to the exact power level required for the customer environment. Using a temporary tuning tool, the installer sets a maximum power level for each circuit of ballasts, which can be as low as 50 percent of full power. This eliminates the common problem of over lighting an area and wasting energy.
“I was impressed by the energy-saving performance of DEMANDflex ballasts,” said Kevin Devine, Director, Engineering, for Brookfield Properties’ Southern California Portfolio. “I have more than 25-years experience with Universal Lighting Technologies products, and I trust the proven reliability of their product designs.”
It was CRI’s Tony Wayne who made the call to Brookfield and set up a demonstration of DEMANDflex technology. He recognized the potential for dramatic energy savings by replacing the four-foot T12 fluorescent lamps and ballasts in Bank of America Plaza’s 1.8 million sq. ft. underground parking garage—which happens to be one of largest such structures in Los Angeles.
“At CRI, we’ve retrofitted the lighting in more buildings than any other energy services company in California,” said Wayne. “We understand that in today’s financial climate, clients are looking for a clear return on their investment.”
Brookfield gave the green light for CRI to replace all of the one-lamp and twolamp T12 ballasts in the parking garage with 2,882 new DEMANDflex two-lamp T8 ballasts. The project was completed in June 2009.
Each DEMANDflex ballast was adjusted to 75-percent power during installation, which still provides over five foot-candles of light to ensure ample light and safety inside the garage.
“Safety was the most important factor in setting the power levels,” said Devine.
“We were able to achieve significant energy savings while still providing enough light that everyone with a stake in the project was completely comfortable, including the building’s tenants.”
The energy savings achieved with DEMANDflex ballasts are easy to calculate and verify, giving Brookfield a reliable ROI (Return On Investment) schedule. The annual reduction in utility costs will exceed $100,000 per year, and the entire project will pay for itself in energy savings in less than two years.
With the success of DEMANDflex ballasts at Bank of America Plaza, Brookfield has recently completed a similar retrofit project in the above-ground parking structure at Ernst & Young Plaza, a 41-story skyscraper built in 1985. That project involves replacing 1,327 standard T8 ballasts with new DEMANDflex ballasts adjusted to 50-percent power for an annual savings of more than $55,000. The structure has open sides, taking advantage of ambient light to assist with illumination and avoid unnecessary energy consumption.
Together, these Brookfield projects will reduce carbon dioxide emissions in California by more than 612 tons per year. Brookfield also plans to upgrade the lighting system in the Bank of America Plaza parking garage by installing DCL® Control Systems, which are specifically designed to work with DEMANDflex ballasts. DCL technology works at the circuit level, so there is no need to install expensive control wiring. For this reason, DCL Control Systems can be installed at the same time as DEMANDflex ballasts or at a later date.
With DCL technology, the power level to each circuit can be reduced anywhere from one to 50 percent via manual controls or automated system. Brookfield plans to utilize scheduling software and occupancy sensors to minimize lighting in specific areas of the parking garage when they are not in use.
“We’re very happy with the installation and performance,” said Devine. “We definitely will continue to investigate opportunities to install DEMANDflex ballasts in the future, not limited only to parking garages, but within the stairways, corridors, bathrooms, and other common areas of the building as well.”
For more information about Universal Lighting Technologies, visit www.unvlt.com.