Shopping centre lighting upgrade qualifies for incentives after a few changes in scope

Before the upgrade, the parkade at Mayfair Shopping Centre was lit with older-style high pressure sodium lighting.
Before the upgrade, the parkade at Mayfair Shopping Centre was lit with older-style high pressure sodium lighting.

By bundling upgrades, Mayfair Shopping Centre gets higher quality light and a great return on investment

When Matthew Macwilliam started working in 2014 for global property manager Ivanhoe Cambridge, the company was already planning a lighting upgrade for its Victoria property, Mayfair Shopping Centre.

The goal was to increase the lighting levels in the centre's parkade, which was outfitted with older-style high-pressure sodium lighting.

But Macwilliam saw opportunity. Hired as the energy manager for several of the company's B.C. properties, he was keen to work with BC Hydro and take advantage of incentives that could improve project outcomes and mitigate costs.

"We looked at the parkade lighting project and realized that they were going to achieve their desired lighting levels, but it probably wasn't a project that BC Hydro would entertain, in terms of efficiency gains," says Macwilliam. "So we changed the scope a bit, and then it worked."

New LED lighting helps save money and offers brighter, clearer light.
New LED lighting helps save money and offers brighter, clearer light.

LEDs give annual savings of $23,000 per year

In addition to the parkade, the revised project included an additional exterior parking area and many of the mall's back hallways and loading zones. About 780 older T-8 fluorescent tubes in hallways were replaced by tubular LEDs, cutting energy use in those areas by more than 50%.

With the additional upgrade included in the plan, the project's total energy savings qualified for incentives of nearly 30% the project cost. The overall project saves 240,000 kWh of energy per year, for savings of nearly $18,000 in energy costs and an additional $5,000 reduction in maintenance costs. Plus it qualified for a BC Hydro incentive of $57,000, giving a payback period under six years.

"The parking lot was going to be upgraded one way or the other, but we were able to expand the improvements to the extra areas, and that wouldn't have been on the radar had we not been able to leverage some incentive dollars," says Macwilliam.

Higher quality light offers even greater potential efficiencies

Having been through one lighting upgrade, Macwilliam says he learned a few things he'll apply in his next one (the company is considering a project ten times the size, at the Metrotown mall in Burnaby). In particular: all light does not appear the same.

Although the plan sounded simple enough – to double the quantity of light (measured in lumens) in the parkade – Macwilliam says they didn't fully appreciate the difference in the quality of the light.

"The light from the LEDs isn't the same; you can't use the same numbers," he says. "The high pressure sodium give a sort of orange-y light, but the quality of the LED light is so much crisper and better, in a way you're over-compensating. You can get the same feeling more efficiently with lower light levels and still get really good quality."

Lighting in the Mayfair parkade now includes occupancy sensors so lights switch off when no one is present (security lighting remains on), an additional efficiency not even counted in the projected outcomes. But Macwilliam says in his next project, he'll investigate dimming and other enhanced controls to gain further energy savings – something he suggests anyone doing a lighting project should consider.

"Definitely go out and see some lights up and running. Get a sense of what the different lighting levels or targets are and try to see them in real life to get an appreciation for what you want to achieve. And certainly look at controls. LEDs are great, and one-for-one they can cut energy consumption by about 50%, but if you can add controls to them, the sky's the limit."

Learn more about energy efficient lighting upgrades and BC Hydro programs that can help cover up-front costs and fund energy studies. Talk to your Key Account Manager for details and project advice.