Vancouver library parking lot to get motion sensor light upgrade

Image of Vancouver Public Library - Central Branch
Vancouver Public Library's iconic Central Branch in downtown Vancouver is about to get an innovative upgrade, with motion sensor lighting being installed in the facility's 700-space underground parking lot.

Installing motion sensors expected to save City $31,000 a year in energy costs

The underground parking lot at Vancouver Public Library's (VPL's) Central Branch in downtown Vancouver is big. It's three levels and has over 700 parking spaces.

And in a few short weeks, the parking lot, which until now has lived quietly below Vancouver's beautifully designed main library, will be home to one of the most innovative motion sensor light upgrades in Metro Vancouver.

A City-owned property, the underground parking lot at VPL's Central Branch is managed and operated by EasyPark, a non-profit public authority that operates parking facilities across Metro Vancouver. EasyPark currently manages 42 facilities and over 10,800 parking spaces; 700 of these spaces reside at VPL's Central Branch.

Payback period for EasyPark project should be just over five years

"The motion sensor light upgrade in the underground parking lot at the VPL's Central Branch is the first of its size and kind for EasyPark," says BC Hydro Key Account Manager Rick Truong.

The lighting upgrade, which took close to six months to install, is projected to save the City up to 511,000 kilowatt hours annually, or approximately $31,000 a year. Maintenance costs are expected to go down as well.

"The estimated payback period for the project is a little over five years," says Truong. "This is remarkable given its size and scale."

Occupant safety remains EasyPark's top priority

"The safety and security of occupants in our parking facilities is incredibly important to us," says EasyPark's director of operations, Gary Mah.

"In fact, even though the Central Branch's lights will now be 'off' until motion is detected, the quality of light that's provided once the lights are illuminated is excellent," Mah says. "Individual spaces, as well as infrequently used corners and corridors, are now very well lit."

So how small of a motion will the lights detect? "The lights illuminate immediately upon sensing even the slightest movement," says Mah. "A single foot step, or something as small waving your hand, can turn on the lights."

One down — many more underground parking lots to go

EasyPark, together with Power Smart, will be closely monitoring the outcome of the project over the next year.

"We're just scratching the surface," says Mah, who routinely touches base with BC Hydro's Truong to discuss the installation. "This could be the beginning of something really incredible."

What's going on in your underground?

"Installing occupancy sensors in occasionally used common spaces — like an underground parking lot — can reduce the energy consumed in the area by as much as 20 per cent," says Reid Arkinstall, a product development specialist with Power Smart.

"The motion sensor light installation at Vancouver Public Library's Central Branch is a bold and exciting example of what's possible," adds Arkinstall. "We hope EasyPark's initiative encourages strata councils, property managers and small office customers across B.C. to take another look at what's possible in their own underground parking lots."

Five minutes is all it takes to request more information about your potential savings. To reach the business help desk dial 604 522 4713 from Greater Vancouver or 1 866 522 4713 from elsewhere in the province.