GE helps MetLife save about $360,000/year with LEDs and fluorescents

GE replaced MetLife's HPS and metal halide parking lights at 10 outdoor lots with sustainable solid state lighting (SSL) and exchanged old indoor lighting at a two-story office building with "soft start" T8 fluorescents.

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MetLife Inc. will save ~$360,000/year and consume nearly 3.5 million fewer kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity because it implemented GE Lighting's Evolve LED outdoor lighting in parking lots at 10 office locations and used more energy-efficient and potentially smarter T8 fluorescent indoor lighting at its 650,000 ft2 St. Louis administrative center.

The company and its employees were immediately impressed with the results of the outdoor area lights. "The aesthetics were amazing—we saw one lot that was half complete, and the difference from one side to the other was incredible. There were no dark spots where GE’s area lights had gone in," said Richard DeRick, portfolio manager for Cushman & Wakefield, which manages 7.3 million ft2 of space for MetLife.

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GE's Evolve LED area lights at MetLife
"The completion of several properties actually fell in line with Daylight Savings Time," DeRick added. "We heard numerous positive comments that next day. As one associate told me, 'The new lights look great! Perfect timing especially now that the days are getting shorter.' Another remarked, 'The difference in visibility between the old and new ones is really noticeable—like day and night!'"

With GE's Evolve LED area lights, MetLife will now use nearly 1.1 million fewer kWh to illuminate its parking lots—equaling a $164,000 utility cost savings per year (based on a $0.15 kWh rate and 4380 hours of operation).

The partnership between MetLife and GE started when John Chambers, MetLife's assistant VP of facility services and sustainability, met with GE Lighting's LED outdoor lighting experts.

"We decided to have them perform a test for us," says Chambers. "We installed several fixtures at one of our Pennsylvania properties and were very impressed with the improved visibility in the lot. That’s when we made a multi-site upgrade part of our critical plan for the coming year."

Starting in early 2010, MetLife began replacing existing high-pressure sodium (HPS) and metal halide parking lot lights at eight administrative facilities and two data centers in several states (containing an average of 700 parking spaces and 100 fixtures) with GE’s ecomagination Evolve LED area lights.

"It was a seamless, easy transition from the old lights to the new LEDs," said DeRick."The electricians had no problem with the footprint of the base going on the existing poles."

MetLife says that it anticipates much less maintenance for many years because GE’s Evolve LED area lights are expected to significantly outlast the old lights. Previously, up to 25% of the old HID lamps had to be changed each year, incurring tens of thousands of dollars.

Indoor lighting changes

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New: GE's indoor lighting at MetLife
The switch from T12 to T8 linear fluorescent indoor lighting (LFL) at MetLife's St. Louis office also offered savings of 2.4 million kWh, equal to $196,000 annually (based on an $0.08 kWh rate and 5600 hours of operation). The indoor lighting came about because GE officials were pleased with the LED parking lot project and wanted to see if they could save any more money.

In MetLife's office in St. Louis, more than 7000 old T12 fixtures consumed nearly 5.1 million kWh/year by dominating the ceilings. GE Lighting experts recommended a simplified design: the many different kinds of lamps would be replaced with a single lamp type using one of two ballast types.

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Old: Indoor lighting at MetLife's office.

Thus, nearly 13,000 GE F28 T8 linear fluorescent lamps were installed at the St. Louis office. The new LFL design also uses more than 8000 GE UltraStart Programmed Start (PS) ballasts and a few UltraStart dimming ballasts. The ballasts provide a "soft start" that can significantly extend lamp life opposed to standard instant-start ballasts. They also provide greater energy-savings potential when integrated with occupancy sensors, daylight harvesters or other automated light controls.

MetLife expects to invest its energy savings back into the system, possibly adding photo cells, motion sensors, and control options. Chambers noted total project payback will take less than five years for the new LED-lit parking lots and a little more than two years in St. Louis.

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