Concordia University Texas Strives for Energy Efficiency Through Retrofit LEDs

Keeping environmental considerations, maintenance requirements and lighting quality in mind, the Concordia University Texas facilities management staff determined that LED lighting was the best option.

Posted in News on June 25, 2015

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Founded in 1926, Concordia University Texas is a highly respected institution of higher education, offering undergraduate, graduate degree programs. Owned and operated by the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod, Concordia University Texas is a regionally accredited liberal arts college with an enrollment just over 2,600. The university is part of the Concordia University System, which has more than 28,000 students enrolled in ten colleges and two seminaries throughout the nation.


Dedicated to developing Christian leaders, Concordia has committed to maintaining a campus that fosters a culture responsible urban environmentalism and sustainability. In 2008, Concordia University relocated its campus from its 23-acre downtown Austin home to a sprawling 385-acre property on the West side of town, creating a new campus with both renovated buildings and new construction. The property also contains a 250-acre federally protected nature preserve and is home to two birds on the endangered species list.


In light of the new surroundings, Concordia University Texas found new zeal in seeking energy efficiency in all buildings on the new campus, whether they were existing or part of new construction. Keeping in line with the university’s commitment to provide students and employees with the skills and tools needed to be environmentally responsible, Concordia University Texas is continuing to take measures to improve energy efficiency within campus facilities, including in Building A, which houses the school’s largest auditorium.


Building A, which was built in the mid-1980’s as a research and development facility for a major oil services company, is one of six buildings original to the new campus, which received renovation before Concordia University Texas moved in. The auditorium in Building A is the location of many campus activities, including guest lectures, musical performances and worship services and was previously outfitted with inefficient 200 watt square downlights. These existing fixtures produced uneven illumination and emitted high levels of heat that required extra cooling – a significant issue for the university as HVAC systems are put to the test during the hot Texas summers. Maintenance of the fixtures, which remained in use for more than 60 hours each week and required frequent replacement, was also an issue for maintenance staff, as the fixtures could only be accessed by high rise cat walks.


At the completion of installation, Concordia’s
auditorium is now a more comfortable, better-lit
environment for students, faculty and visitors.


Keeping environmental considerations, maintenance requirements and lighting quality in mind, the Concordia University Texas facilities management staff determined that LED lighting, which provides significantly increased operational life, reduced power consumption, cooler operation and higher quality light, was the best option to meet the needs of this space. After selecting the best source of lighting and evaluating several different fixtures with the assistance of Juno Lighting Group business partner FSG Lighting, Concordia University Texas selected the Indy Designer Series Architectural LED 6-inch Square Downlights from Juno Lighting Group by Schneider Electric to be installed in the auditorium of Building A.


Requiring only 34 watts input and providing a luminaire efficacy of 50 lumens per watt, Concordia University Texas selected the ENERGY STAR® Qualified Indy™ Designer Series Architectural LED Square Downlights due to their ability to cut power consumption up to one-third as compared to equivalent compact fluorescent fixtures, and their superior brightness control, resulting in a smooth, even light distribution on floors and walls of the auditorium. Designed for optimal light source concealment, the fixtures provide the space with an attractive, “quiet-ceiling” look, and are equipped with an efficient cast-aluminum heat sink to maintain the LED junction temperature – significantly reducing the amount of heat in the building. Additionally, the fixtures are equipped with a dimmable LED driver, allowing the facilities staff to make an adjustment in the brightness of the auditorium for different events where full lighting may not be required.


At the completion of installation, Concordia’s auditorium is now a more comfortable, better-lit environment for students, faculty and visitors. The energy efficient luminaires consume a mere 34 watts each in comparison to the old luminaires, which consumed approximately 200 watts per fixture, reducing overall energy use and costs. Cool operation of the Indy Designer Series Architectural LED Square Downlights also allows for air conditioning to be scaled back, generating further cost and energy savings for the university.  In addition, maintenance costs have also been reduced, as the LED lamps provide 50,000 hours of service at 70 percent lumen maintenance, allowing facilities staff resources to direct their attention to more critical projects on campus.


The aesthetics of the reworked auditorium has also improved as a result of the lighting retrofit, offering a warmer, more attractive environment for occupants. With the fixture to fixture color consistency and reduced glare, hearing impaired students are also now able to better read lips of presenters in the building due to the quality of the light emitted from the Indy Designer Series Architectural LED Square Downlights. Pre-programmed lighting layouts allow the space to be adjusted to the specific need of the event being held in this multi-use venue.


In the future, Concordia intends to stay true to its mission of developing Christian leaders and making every effort to renovate and create new campus buildings with sustainability in mind.