Argonne Lab Lighting Retrofit


The Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) near Chicago, Illinois is one of the largest Department of Energy research labs in the US.  Run by the University of Chicago, ANL employs 1,250 scientists and engineers in research and development on techniques and products related to energy, the environment, and national security.  The campus has 5,000,000 GSF of facility space spread over 100 buildings.  ANL Labs are high energy-use buildings due to the machinery, the electronics, and the 24/7 schedule of research oriented uses.  To keep energy costs in check, the facility has budgeted for energy and water efficiency improvements.  

In 2010 the electrical engineer in charge of facilities directed a major lighting upgrade project in five of the ANL buildings.  There is often low-hanging fruit for energy savings in lighting and lighting controls.  Energy-efficient lights and fixtures replaced older fixtures, to both save energy and improve light levels, and lighting controls were added to shut off lights when they are not needed. Financial incentives from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Public Sector Electric Efficiency Program covered nearly 30% of the project costs.  A verification visit by the SEDAC team confirmed the much improved lighting conditions in the research areas and offices.

Four major strategies were employed to reduce energy usage: 

  1. Control schedules were added in the research warehouses to turn lights off at night and on weekends.  
  2. Occupancy sensors were installed in offices and hallways throughout the facility.  
  3. All exit signs were upgraded to LED signs.
  4. Fixtures and lamps were replaced with lower wattage fixtures and lamps.

The lighting projects were estimated to save 511,000 kWh per year. At an average rate of $0.0767 per kWh that ANL pays for electricity, these upgrades alone will produce more than $39,000 in energy cost savings every year. Occupancy sensors are expected to bring further savings.