LED lighting manufacturer Seesmart Technologies Inc. (SEST) announced today that it has been selected by SL Green Realty Corp. (SLG), New York City’s largest commercial property owner, to install it’s industry leading LED lighting products throughout 21 commercial office properties, as part of one of the nation’s largest LED lighting efficiency projects.
SL Green is furthering their commitment to energy reduction and sustainability by replacing over 16,000 fluorescent, incandescent and halogen light bulbs with energy efficient Seesmart LED lighting solutions in 21 of their NYC properties.
In March, SL Green installed 7,500 LED units within 16 suburban division (Reckson) buildings, totaling more than 2.5 million s/f in its Westchester & Fairfield County portfolios including 360 Hamilton Ave. and 140 Grand St. in White Plains; 200 & 500 Summit Lake Dr. in Valhalla; and 680/750 Washington Blvd. and Landmark Sq., in Stamford, Ct.
Financial savings are estimated to be in excess of $630,000 annually while providing a superior quality of light and a significant improvement in the longevity and performance compared to their existing lighting. The project will also generate an additional $125,000 in labor and material savings. The combined annual savings will be in excess $745,000.
In a recent interview with Kenneth Ames, CEO of Seesmart Technologies Inc., he said, “Seesmart is pleased to support SL Green Realty Corp., to utilize our cutting edge LED lighting products to maximize energy efficiency and savings throughout its portfolio. The selection of Seesmart is a testament to the market leading efficiency, quality and service we provide to our customers”
Lighting represents approximately 25 to 30 percent of total energy cost in the commercial real estate industry. By implementing Seesmart LED lighting solutions, SLGreen will reduce energy costs by more than 50 percent and extend lamp life by as much as 10 times the average life of traditional lighting products equating to about 8 years.
Jay Black, sustainability Director at SL Green said, “LED equipment allows us to significantly impact life-cycle costs, affecting energy use and lamp life, 90% of lighting’s life-cycle costs, will yield a project payback of only three years, providing $4.5 million in total life-cycle savings.”
According to John Barnes, senior VP and senior director ofReckson, a division of SL Green, “Through our market-leading program, the LED retrofit is the latest example of how we are utilizing sustainability to improve our business. It saves both SL Green and our tenants money, reduces energy waste and contributes to our best in class experience.”
With the latest massive LED lighting retrofit utilizing Seesmart LED lighting solutions I wanted to understand how a leader in sustainability with numerous citations for energy reduction determines the best energy efficient products and services from all the competitors emerging in the marketplace today.
In an effort to assist other commercial businesses faced with the task of reducing costly energy consumption I interviewed the leaders involved in this project including Jay Black, Sustainability Director at SL Green, Greg Hudson fromEnvironmental Systems Corporation(ESC), a designer and contractor that provide due diligence consulting for energy-efficient installations, as well as Patricia Lee fromCodeGreen, a leading efficiency company helping real estate and business owners develop and achieve their energy reduction and sustainability goals.
Greg Hudson from ESC said, “We put Seesmart’s LED products through performance comparisons with other industry competitors to insure SL Green was using the best product for the job. Through all of our testing, Seesmart products outperformed the other manufacturers in light output, lower wattage use, as well as the return on investment (ROI). Seesmart has stayed ahead of the market in terms of technology adaptation and the continuing effort to offer competitive LED products.”
As part of SL Green’s commitment to running a high performance and LEED certified building, CodeGreen was contracted to manage the LEED certification process and perform an ASHRAE Level IIEnergy Auditat 360 Hamilton Avenue. The energy analysis performed identified energy conservation measures totaling over 420,000 kwh of savings annually including lighting upgrades that could result in over 345,077 kwh saved annually. From the over 20 million sq. ft. of energy audits and retro-commissioning that CodeGreen has performed, efficient lighting has been a leading factor in optimizing energy use in a building.Seesmart worked with the building team to successfully upgrade lighting fixtures resulting in an increased Energy Star score and contributions to the LEED certification. Energy efficiency is an integral part of the LEED program and was essential in the successful achievement of LEED-EB Gold certification at 360 Hamilton.
Q&A with Jay Black:
Examiner:Why did you decide to install LED lighting into you buildings?
Jay Black:Due to the extreme energy efficiency and recent advances of LED lighting we felt it would serve as an excellent catalyst toward our sustainability goals. When implemented correctly, quality LED lighting provides a quick payback and ease of integration into our existing infrastructure. Our sustainability team consulted with leaders in energy efficiency and sustainability in our local area (CodeGreen, ECS) in an effort to thoroughly analyze all aspects of our current project and ascertain the complete benefits to our particular organization. After carefully reviewing all the attributing factors our team concluded that the industry leading LED lighting solutions from Seesmart were the right choice for us.
Examiner:Some say that LED technology is not here yet! How would you respond to that comment?
Jay Black:First I would like to start by saying all LED’s are not created equal. There are many contributing factors you must address before choosing any LED lamp including light rendering, warranty period, company stability and many other measures. Our team performed a significant amount of research into current LED technology and have ascertained if you select a quality LED light such as Seesmart lighting we feel the technology is definitely here.
Examiner:How does LED lighting compare to other energy efficiency products such as solar and wind technologies?
Jay Black:LED lighting is definitely a leader in energy saving technology. When you carefully review other products such as solar and wind you will quickly see in regards to energy reduction and ease of integration, LED will provide a significantly better savings in a much quicker time frame while being much easier to implement into your existing infrastructure.
Examiner:There is speculation that the cost of LED lighting will go down in the next few years. Why did SL Green decide to move forward today?
Jay Black:We wanted to take advantage of available savings now. The ROI for our current project is about three years, which is an excellent payback! We are in the businesses of buying and selling buildings. Implementing upgrades, generates value creation for us which we can project outward. The lighting retrofit increases value to our buildings as well as providing cost savings. Additionally, one must look at lost opportunity cost. Even if the lamp cost does go down in three years, our lamps will already be paid off while our savings will continue for many more years. For us it did not make sense to wait and lose $745,000 in annual savings.
Examiner:In your savings analysis, what factors were considered in your report?
Jay Black: We reviewed all factors such as kWh savings, product cost and ROI as well as internal accounting aspects. All company’s measures will be different so you must consider how LED lighting relates to your particular business and the programs you have currently have implemented.
Examiner:Why did SL Green select Seemart LED lighting opposed to other leading competitors in the industry?
Jay Black:There are many factors that must be considered when choosing a company and product for a project of this magnitude. The decision is more complex than just the initial cost of the light bulb. SL Green selected Seesmart Technologies to deliver significant cost savings. As a leading provider of LED lighting solutions, Seesmart delivers superior equipment, efficiency, longevity, exceptional warranty and outstanding service. A five year warranty will have little value if the company is not around to honor it. We reviewed several leading manufacturers, and found Seesmart Technologies’ “incomparable qualities” provided us with the confidence to introduce this innovative technology throughout our portfolio.
Examiner:How has your experience been working with the Seesmart team?
Jay Black:I was very impressed with Ron Young and the entire team. From the beginning they were very accessible and worked diligently to accommodate the particular needs of our organization. They provided an excellent comfort level and professional expertise in all aspects of the project while respecting the input of our team. In addition, they tested numerous bulbs in a variety of locations to provide the best light output and design implementation for each individual application resulting in a look and feel we were very impressed with.
After speaking to Jay Black and his sustainability team, it is clear to me why SL Green Realty Corp. is a leader in the industry. Their professional staff has expertise in a variety of areas and works diligently with other leading efficiency experts to analyze all associated factors, targeting the specific areas throughout it’s enormous portfolio which achieve the greatest benefit for their particular organization. By utilizing this comprehensive and strategic approach SL Green was able to maximize their overall financial savings while reducing lighting energy consumption by more than 50 percent.
Through it’s huge array of industry leading LED lighting products, Seesmart was able to meet the diverse needs of SL Green by providing innovative solutions to the individual challenges SL Green presented throughout the entire project.
SL Green selected Seesmart based on all of the attributing factors, including superior products, efficiency, longevity, exceptional warranty and outstanding service and not just initial lamp cost. “The cooperative effort among all parties involved in this project significantly improved the overall outcome and I believe have made us a better company.,” said Ron Young of Seesmart. Through professionalism and due diligence these leading companies strive for excellence in all that they do, resulting in a very smooth running project with little disruption in day to day business. Other commercial businesses could learn alot from their success in improving business and reducing cost through energy efficiency and sustainability.