It began with a simple direct-mail piece and a follow-up call. It ended with a lighting upgrade that cuts $100,000 annually from the energy bill of New York City's premier convention center--and delivers better light to the exhibit halls. Located on the west side of Manhattan, the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center plays host to major conventions and trade shows on more than 300 days annually, attracting 2.5 million visitors. The success of the project is based on Stingray Lighting's breakthrough technology--a new adjustable dual-reflector system for high-intensity discharge (HID) luminaires--designed for high-bay lighting applications such as the three cavernous exhibit halls at the Javits Center.

After the manufacturer's sales call, Tony Bracco, assistant director of operations for the Javits Center, received two of the 400W Stingray dual-reflector luminaires for testing. "My initial tests convinced me that it would be a good capital improvement project," he said. "The primary reason from my end is that it made good business sense in two ways. It would save energy dollars and at the same time help attract convention business by putting better light on the show floor."

The unique dual-reflector system can be adjusted to deliver uniform light at almost any mounting height. "With standard single reflector technology, luminaires provide spread, but little light beneath the fixture," says Ronald Lim, director of sales and marketing for Stonco, a division of Genlyte/Thomas Group, a joint marketer of the new luminaires. "Engineers demand one thing--even, consistent light levels."

The inner reflector is adjusted to increase the light levels in the area under the fixture. The outer reflector is adjusted so that the light is reflected and aimed at the midpoint between the fixtures to achieve the desired illumination levels. The two reflectors work independently, but complement each other to allow the fixture to be custom-fit for each application.

Bracco ordered the Stingray dual-reflector luminaires and supervised the retrofit installed by an in-house crew. Three main halls, totaling nearly 400,000 sq. ft. (36,000 sq. m), have been upgraded. Work was completed in two months with the crew working between shows. The luminaires were shipped to the Javits Center with the inner reflector preset at the factory. "It was pretty simple," Bracco said of the retrofit, which began in October 1998. "You just go up on an aerial lift, take down the old fixture, and wire in the new one. It's sort of plug-and-play."

Previously, the Javits Center had been lit with 1,692 metal-halide 400W luminaires at a ceiling height of 37'. But with the dual reflector luminaires, the installation requires only 846 metal-halide 400W luminaires, a savings of 50%. This translates into an energy savings of one million kilowatt-hours and lower demand charges, which provides savings of at least $100,000 annually, higher light output, and more evenly distributed illumination. Light levels increased significantly from 38-42fc to 68-72fc.

Because the upgrade has shown marked energy savings and user satisfaction, additional retrofitting is possible for later this year when 708 fixtures using 400W metal-halides will be replaced one-for-one with Stingray 200W dual-reflector luminaires in other show halls.

The completed project's energy savings are further increased because the new luminaires produce less heat than the old ones, which cuts air conditioning costs. Besides saving energy, the lighting systems also help save the environment. Because fewer kilowatts need to be generated by the power plant, less pollution is created. US Environmental Protection Agency calculations show that the energy saved by the lighting upgrade will prevent the annual emission of more than 550 tons of carbon dioxide, 1.45 tons of nitrogen oxide, and 3.79 tons of sulfur dioxide into the air.

With annual savings of 1 million kilowatt-hours, and annual energy savings of $100,000, the payback period for this project is less than two years. "The whole premise behind the retrofit was to increase my lighting output and cut my wattage in half," Bracco said. "Any time you can take down four lights and put up two, and increase your lighting output and quality, you have to be happy."