Washington Metro to install cost-free LEDs

The Washington Metro has signed a lighting-as-service contract to relight its parking garages. The deal will see the replacement of 13,000 fixtures in the next year. 

The 10-year contract will be funded through the annual $2 million (€1.5 million) savings in energy and maintenance resulting from the LED upgrade.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has 25 parking facilities that will benefit from the arrangement. The lighting-as-service contract is a first for Philips Lighting.

‘[This] contract advances our commitment to improving the system’s infrastructure for our customers for years to come,’ said Richard Sarles, WMATA CEO. ‘This high-efficiency LED lighting overhaul not only means increased safety and visibility for riders, but also a 68 per cent reduction in energy consumption at these facilities.’

The LEDs will replace the current high-pressure sodium lighting, switching from an orange light to a white one. The new system is being designed for the individual needs of each garage and will only direct light when and where it is needed. It will cover both the interior and exterior lighting at the parking garages, and will include Philips G3 and EcoForm luminaires. Both types feature the latest Philips Luxeon LED technology. Each fixture will respond to its environment by automatically dimming in response to motion and ambient light from the sun or other sources.

An added benefit of the improved light quality is that existing security cameras are able to pick up better results.

The project is expected to save WMATA more than 15 million KWh a year, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by the equivalent of 140 tanker trucks of gasoline – or the electricity used by 1,456 homes – each year.

Each parking garage will be individually metered to allow real-time performance tracking and automated reporting.

‘With digital lighting systems we really need to break with conventional thinking and look to the services and delivery models of the software industry to understand the future of lighting and how we can remove one of the greatest barriers to adoption – the up-front costs,’ said Bruno Biasiotta, president and CEO of Philips Lighting Americas.  ‘As a forward-thinking organisation, WMATA has taken a holistic view of their parking garage solution and worked with us to finance the system through energy-savings costs, while ensuring they could deliver on their priorities. One of the benefits of this system is that real-time access to actionable data ‘future-proofs’ the system, allowing Metro to continually adapt to their needs through real time monitoring and measurement.’

Philips will manage the lighting system from installation right up until the end of the contract.

The Metro has also announced plans to install new, brighter lighting at all the underground stations, following the successful completion of lighting upgrades and a number of other stations, including Smithsonian and Metro Centre.

The underground mezzanine lighting is significantly brighter and more energy efficient than the lighting it is replacing. The new fixtures provide a higher CRI and improve overall visibility.

In addition to the five stations already completed, one station – L’Enfant Plaza – is currently under construction, and the remaining underground stations will all be completed by 2015. There will be 47 stations in total.

‘The new lighting will provide for better visibility and in turn, improve safety, security and the overall customer experience for riders as that make their way through the Metrorail system,’ said Sarles. ‘Through our Metro Forward rebuilding program, we are committed to improving the customer experience and lighting efficiency upgrades will continue to be rolled out as part of that process.’

The lighting improvements on the underground are the result of an effective partnership between the Metro, the Accessibility Advisory Committee (ACC) and other community stakeholders.

‘We applaud Metro's decision to move forward with brighter lighting in nearly four dozen stations,’ said AAC Chair Patrick Sheehan. 

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