MaxLite customizes LEDs for honeycomb mounting, announces two indoor projects

July 23, 2013
Customizing LED-based recessed troffer fixtures, MaxLite engineered flush-mount lighting for prefabricated concrete ceilings on a California college campus and supplied SSL fixtures to hospital-office and industrial-high-bay applications.

At California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) in Carson, California, prefabricated concrete ceilings with a honeycomb structure covering pedestrian walkways presented a lighting challenge that MaxLite solved by customizing a LED troffer that mounts flush, covering the recessed ceiling cell. The company also completed small solid-state lighting (SSL) projects in both a hospital executive office and on a factory floor that deliver improved light quality and energy efficiency.

Honeycomb ceiling lights

At CSUDH, the concrete ceilings have used two-lamp U-bend fluorescent fixtures mounted in the depths of the honeycomb cells in the walkway ceilings. That mounting location restricted beam distribution and encouraged insects such as spiders and wasps, as well as birds, to take up residence in the cavity, further disrupting the lighting.

The existing fixtures were installed in the early 1970s, are rusted, and definitely require replacement, but options for the odd ceiling were limited. "I have been searching for a solution for two years for the honeycomb ceilings, but everyone I spoke to wanted me to install a fixture that would attract birds and wasps," said Kenny Seeton, manager central plant at CSUDH.

The university was also looking to install adaptive controls with new lighting to maximize energy savings, and had engaged with controls specialist Enlighted in that discussion. Enlighted, in turn, recommended that the university consider MaxLite 2×2-ft ECO-T LED Recessed Troffers in the honeycombs.

MaxLite VP of product marketing and engineering Pat Treadway and VP of sales West David Wyatt sought to modify the recessed fixture designed for lay-in ceilings so that they could be mounted covering a honeycomb cell. The university desired such mounting for beam distribution and insect/bird control.

The MaxLite duo created an 18-gauge-steel suspension kit that allows the ECO-Ts to be surface mounted. The fixtures were modified to accept a center down rod. Moreover, the team painted the flange of the fixtures to match the color of the honeycombs.

The university installed four of the 45W LED fixtures in place of 59W fluorescent fixtures to trial the solution to the honeycomb problem. While the new lights are slightly more efficient, the big win sought was better lighting and elimination of the maintenance issue related to insects and birds.

"This design eliminates all those concerns and puts the light down where we need it instead of wasting it up in the ceiling cavity," said CSUDH's Seeton. "With the new LED fixtures mounted flush to the honeycomb, I now have 2 fc at 10% and 10 fc at 50%. The old U-Tubes had 5–7 fc at 100%."

The university is now looking to replace 222 of the fluorescent fixtures in the first phase of a broad retrofit. Longer term, the plan includes a phase two project covering 178 additional fixtures. And it turns out that with the controls in the picture, the energy savings will be substantial, totaling 960,000 kWh over the lifetime of the fixtures.

Hospital office

In indoor projects, MaxLite completed a small factory project and an office retrofit in a hospital, delivering improved light quality in both instances. At Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in Englewood, New Jersey, new president and CEO Warren Geller was moving into office space that needed an upgrade in interior design in general and in lighting as well. The existing basket-type fluorescent troffers produced non-uniform lighting with visible hot spots.

The hospital installed MaxLite 60W 2×4-ft Direct Lit LED Flat Panel Performance Series fixtures in place of the five fluorescent fixtures. The power consumption is similar, but the LED lighting is more uniform with less glare. The results led Geller to have MaxLite LED panels installed in an adjacent open office area.

"After the long days I spent in my previous office with the old fluorescents, my eyes would be tired by the end of the day regardless of what I did," said Geller. "I wanted better quality lighting that would no longer strain my eyes when I moved into my new office, and these fixtures did the trick. When you stand outside the offices and compare the light, there is a night and day difference. The room now looks sunlit, warm, and inviting."

Factory high bay

At the Navis Industries facility in Elgin, Illinois, MaxLite supplied eight 144W LED Highbay Fixtures to replace 400W metal halide (MH) high-bay fixtures in a portion of its factory floor. The goal included evaluating LED lighting and ultimately increased energy efficiency and better lighting, Navis president Scott Griffith said the employees universally like the brighter crisper light from the LED fixtures that were mounted in a pendant configuration.

"The MaxLite LED Highbay Fixtures have provided increased lighting for our manufacturing space, while greatly reducing our energy usage," said Griffith. "We are committed to reducing energy throughout our facilities and will work with MaxLite to provide similar high quality, energy-efficient products in the additional spaces of our organization."

Outdoor lighting projects

MaxLite also completed two other notable outdoor SSL projects recently. A major project in Allentown, Pennsylvania included retrofit of the lighting in the Government Deck and Transportation Center multi-level parking garages owned by the Allentown Parking Authority. The two retrofits are expected to deliver annual savings of $68,049 in energy use and $14,152 in maintenance costs. MaxLite also supplied LED lighting to a Nuevo Leon, Mexico service station showing that even small outdoor SSL projects can deliver substantial savings. For more details on the two MaxLite outdoor projects, see our story on the LEDs Magazine website.