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Facilities Update
Georgia World Congress Center Completes Exhibit Hall Lighting Upgrade Project

After receiving a $2.3 million grant in 2011, the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) recently completed a major lighting retrofit and controls system upgrade which will reduce energy consumption, as well as operation and maintenance costs, by using more energy efficient lamps and advanced lighting controls. The funding was used to replace 1,288 lighting fixtures in the GWCC’s 12 exhibit halls. The 1,000-watt metal halide lighting fixtures in the halls were replaced with 750-watt pulse start metal halide fixtures in the convention center’s 1.4 million sq. ft. of exhibit space.

The grant was secured through the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) and its State Energy Program, which received funding for the grant from the U.S. Department of Energy as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Funds were managed by the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission (GSFIC).

Lighting controls in the halls were also upgraded and fixtures can now be operated on an individual basis. Previously, older fixtures were controlled as a group on a per hall basis. With the upgrade, each individual light can be controlled at the wall or remotely via iPad. The grant also allowed for the installation of 260 motion sensors in offices, restrooms, storerooms and other back of house closets.

"We chose these particular fixtures for the potential savings they will afford us both in consumption and actual dollars," said Josh Robison, the convention center’s director of engineering. "The new controls will allow for more efficient programming thereby further reducing electrical consumption."

Energy efficiency throughout the facility is a top priority. With an annual power bill of more than $4 million and more than 20,000 light fixtures in the convention center, the potential savings from the new fixtures will make a tremendous impact. Each bulb will potentially result in up to 25 percent savings per usage and will last 20 percent longer than the bulbs currently in use. Over time, the new fixtures will considerably reduce the amount of energy consumed by the 3.9 million-sq. ft. facility.

"We are always looking for ways to reduce our energy consumption and costs. Our goal is to make our day to day operations perform at a higher, more efficient level," said Tim Trefzer, sustainability coordinator for the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which includes the GWCC, Georgia Dome and Centennial Olympic Park. "This project will help us save energy for many years to come."

The GWCC is optimistic about expanding the retrofit program in the future and will continue researching further funding options for higher efficiency fixtures. Additionally, the convention center, the nation’s fourth largest, is in the process of completing an energy audit – ASHRAE Level 1 energy assessment in its pursuit of LEED certification. For more information visit
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