Leader of the Pack: McKinstry Energy Services Group

Joe Moroni headshotIn 2013, the Washington Department of Commerce signed a 30-year lease to take over Seattle’s iconic Pacific Tower building. The Department then worked with a collaborative team to transform the building through bold energy conservation measures. Among the desired capabilities was integration of the building’s HVAC system with occupancy sensing. The team hired McKinstry to research and install the best lighting option to do just that.

McKinstry and the project team decided the comprehensive enlighted luminaire level lighting controls (LLLC) system was the ideal choice to enable HVAC integration. McKinstry had been installing lighting systems with daylight harvesting capabilities since they first came onto the market, but this was McKinstry’s first installation of a comprehensive LLLC system.

For this project, Joe Moroni, a Building Systems Optimization Consultant at McKinstry, served as the Commissioning Engineer for the LLLC system installation. In his role, he partners with building owners to perform deep audits of all their facility systems and equipment—from mechanical and electrical systems, to flooring and furniture.

“The top draw of the LLLC system was definitely energy savings first,” says Moroni. “But you also gain such great functionality down to the individual fixture. We knew we would see significant savings just switching to LEDs, but once we started setting light and thermostat levels, we were really able to cut off huge portions of energy costs just from the lighting.”

For Moroni, these are the key goals he seeks to tackle every time he approaches a new client project:

  • Determine the goals of both designers and operators to generate the best operating sequence for systems being installed.
  • Optimize the business case for whole building retrofits
    • Take into account the cumulative cost effectiveness created by the technology and equipment you are considering – for example, LED fixtures by themselves are not as expensive thanks to incentives, but if you want to install fixtures with integrated sensors (Luminaire Level Lighting Controls), or add a new boiler, these high ROI measures can significantly cut down the time it will take to achieve payback.

Pacific Tower buildingMcKinstry installed 2,000 LED fixtures along with the Enlighted LLLC system in Seattle’s Pacific Tower building, resulting in lighting energy use 27 percent better than Seattle’s already progressive energy code.

Since then, McKinstry has installed LLLCs in other buildings across the Pacific Northwest. Moroni concluded: “LLLCs are a linchpin in our energy efficiency measures, especially for those in Washington state because of code. This system also enables occupant comfort in ways we haven’t seen before. From color temperature adjustments, which are really helpful in school settings, to thermostat settings that are optimal in office buildings like Pacific Tower, LLLCs can be a key tool in ensuring your occupants are comfortable and productive.”