As part of Energy Awareness Month, MI Environment looks at ways energy and water use have been reduced while most State employees who were located at Constitution Hall are working from home.
Since most State employees are working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, it gave the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB), an opportunity to reduce energy and water use in State-managed buildings, says Sarah Goodrich, DTMB facilities sustainability specialist.
At Constitution Hall, where only a few EGLE, DNR and MDARD employees are working (as most work from home), DTMB changed the lighting schedule to a "holiday mode" with few overrides to supply lighting to tenants in areas where it was necessary.
DTMB also switched the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) to a non-active state, meaning equipment was to stay off except for minimal air movement (56 total run hours) during the Stay Home/Stay Safe order. HVAC runtime increased once tenants began to reoccupy the building and the outdoor air temperature warmed up.
To keep germs at bay, each tower in Constitution Hall has at least one touchless/hands-free drinking fountain on each floor. These water bottle filling stations also help reduce the need for tenants to purchase water in disposable water bottles, potentially reducing the volume of waste in landfills.
DTMB is also increasing energy efficiency in the Constitution Hall building with a major lighting replacement. Underway is the installation of a Cree LED SmartCast product. Cree's smart lighting technology offers an open application programming interface (API) that works with smart building systems to amplify savings and optimize building space. The updated Cree SmartCasts provide scalable intelligent light, delivering increased comfort and a more personalized lighting experience.
Each SmartCast enabled luminaire, integrated sensors, electronics, and software all work together, using light and intelligent algorithms to automatically learn and interact with each other and with the space. Embedded sensors continually detect and share data on room occupancy. These sensors also have a light harvesting feature which automatically dims up or down with the sun to provide ambient light. This fine-tuning of the office environment provides cost-savings in real time.
Cree LED SmartCasts have been installed in the Atrium, 1st and 2nd floors in both towers of the facility. The 3rd and 4th floor fixture upgrades will start by the end of the calendar year. All fixtures for the Atrium level through the 4th floors of Constitution Hall were purchased prior to the state's budget restrictions. Although it is DTMB's goal to eventually have these installed throughout the entire facility, the completion date for this will highly depend on securing financing.