DOE Workshop Tour Highlights Pittsburgh’s LEDs

It’s gratifying, when we put so much effort into an event, to have industry leaders tell us it is a “must-attend” in their book—especially at a time when every travel dollar needs to be fully justified. That has been the case with three annual workshops managed by Akoya for the Department of Energy’s Solid-State Lighting Program. This summer, we were especially pleased to welcome attendees of the Market Introduction Workshop to our headquarters’ city of Pittsburgh. One aspect of the workshop – an evening guided bus tour of LED lighting installations – gave us a chance to introduce 50 visitors to the remarkable Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the Shadyside business district, and the GNC World Headquarters in downtown Pittsburgh.

Jason Wirick, director of facilities and sustainability at Phipps, provided a behind-the-scenes view of LED selection and use, both in the conservatory and in the about-to-open Center for Sustainable Landscapes. Although Phipps’ use of LEDs includes a variety of retrofit lamps and new luminaires in both interior and exterior settings—and is expected to result in significant energy and maintenance savings—lighting is only a part of Phipps’ big-picture story.  Particularly for the new Center, the design team used an integrated process as they worked toward the “Living Building Challenge” to meet or exceed the three highest green standards and achieve true sustainability in the built environment.

At Phipps, tour attendees were joined by Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto and Stephen Quick, project director for Carnegie Mellon University’s LED street lighting research study, who talked about the process and challenges involved in Pittsburgh’s ongoing conversion to LED street lighting—and about the development of the city’s lighting code. Councilman Peduto then led attendees to the site of the original LED street light pilot installation at Walnut and Bellefonte Streets in the Shadyside business district just as the lights were coming on for the evening. The city has converted about 10 percent of its street lights to LED so far and is seeing significant energy savings despite the relatively low electricity rates in the region.

The final stop brought the tour to the GNC world headquarters at 6th and Wood Streets, where Art McSorley, vice president of retail operations and construction, provided an overview of LED use in GNC stores, and showed attendees a window display comparing HID and LED PAR lamps. GNC has used LEDs in storefront signs for years and has installed around 45,000 LED PAR lamps in stores nationwide, resulting in 2011 energy savings of over $1 million.

If you plan to be in Pittsburgh, download the self-guided tour flyer to see these and other installations, including CMU’s Randy Pausch Memorial Bridge.

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