Great Lakes AE Firm Waves in LEED Certification with GE Lamps

CLEVELAND, Ohio — (NYSE: GE)  Designing provocative spaces is nothing new for the lighting designers and engineers at Hammel, Green & Abrahamson (HGA), an architecture–engineering firm. But when the HGA team was asked to design an inspiring, sustainable lighting plan for its own Great Lakes office in Milwaukee, it was an especially exciting challenge, eagerly accepted by all. 

"This was a great opportunity to design a lighting system in line with LEED® Silver Certification, while highlighting the architecture and meeting the needs of the people in the space,"says Jill Cody, IALD, LC, LEED AP, a lighting designer and senior associate at HGA.

HGA is a full–service, national architecture, engineering and planning firm. HGA's rapidly expanding Great Lakes office was about to relocate to a larger 30,000 square–foot space in a local landmark, the Marine Terminal Building. The 85–year–old building originally served as an offloading terminal for Great Lakes cargo ships, so its interior spaces were filled with many unique architectural features.

HGA identified three main objectives for the lighting of its new office space:
• Reinforce the architecture through selected lighting effects, while embracing architectural integration;
• Maximize energy efficiency to achieve LEED–CI Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program; and
• Maximize visual comfort to create a positive work environment for employees.

A perfect blend: Low–watt ceramic metal halide plus T5 fluorescent
To help meet its lighting objectives, HGA chose GE Appliances & Lighting for its wide selection of energy–efficient lamp types, particularly its ceramic metal halide lamp offering. The most efficient sources and a control system that integrated photo–controls, occupancy sensors and shade control were selected.

"As an architecture and engineering firm, HGA has a long history of incorporating sustainable design principles in its designs," says Jim Vander Heiden, vice president and principal with HGA. "It made perfect sense to seek LEED certification for our own space."

The lighting design subtly reinforces the design of the space, without being a prominent feature. Wherever possible, fixtures were recessed to minimize their visual impact. Where that was not possible, high–performing fixtures were used. Single–lamp luminaries use GE 54–watt T5 Starcoat® 3500 K lamps to indirectly illuminate the open office areas. These linear fixtures are a simple rectangular shape with a low profile. Furniture–mounted task lighting provides additional illumination as needed, although excellent daylight penetration minimizes the use of task lighting.

The T5 Starcoat lamp provided the lighting flexibility HGA needed plus up to 20,000 hours of lamp life. "The T5 Starcoat linear fluorescent allows use of highly efficient single lamp fixtures, providing about 25 foot–candles of comfortable ambient light to workstations," comments Cody.

The space features structural concrete columns, which are highlighted in the main circulation zone with floor–mounted luminaries using GE 20–watt ConstantColor® CMH® ceramic metal halide lamps. These lamps provide a grazing effect to emphasize the texture of the columns, while creating a rhythm of light along the length of the office space. "The 20–watt Constant Color CMH ceramic metal halide lamps give a dramatic up lighting effect on the columns with excellent color rendering at very low wattage," reports Cody.

Other focal points include display areas in the entry lobby and teaming areas, where working drawings, renderings and materials for projects in design are pinned onto the walls. GE 50–watt ConstantColor MR 16 lamps in recessed and track fixtures accent the lobby displays. In the teaming areas, GE 39–watt ConstantColor CMH PAR lamps provide focused light on architectural materials and renderings.

"The ConstantColor MR16 lamp provides focused light with consistent output and color over the life of the lamp," says Mary Beth Gotti, manager of the GE Lighting & Electrical Institute, GE Appliances & Lighting. She adds: "The 39–watt ConstantColor CMH PAR lamp provides up to 15,000 hours of life with color uniformity and high color rendering capabilities, which are perfect for bringing focus to specific items in an office or retail environment."

LEED leader
The connected load of all lighting fixtures in the space is 1.15 watts per square foot, which is 26 percent less than the requirements of ASHRAE 90.1 – 1999. This satisfied a LEED prerequisite and provided one point toward silver certification. The project is the first in Wisconsin to achieve certification under the LEED – Commercial Interiors (CI) program.

Cody says the ceramic metal halide lamps played an important role in combining the aesthetics of the lighting design with energy efficiency. "The ConstantColor CMH lamps allowed the use of metal halide sources in applications that previously required incandescent sources for color rendering reasons," says Cody. In addition to reducing lighting electricity needed, the metal halide sources have reduced energy use in air conditioning load.

It's apparent the HGA team was up to the challenge of creating a dynamic environment for their fellow employees. HGA's Great Lakes office has a lighting design that minimizes energy consumption while maximizing lighting quality and visual comfort.

The office features layers of light for architectural accent, as well as ambient and task purposes. HGA's task and ambient lighting choices give employees more control over light levels in workspaces. Overall, the lighting scheme with varying levels of light throughout reinforces the aesthetic and architectural rigor of the space.

"The high quality of the light, from the high color rendering to the importance placed on visual comfort, has received a tremendous response," says Cody. "The new office space is a hit with employees and lighting is an important part of that."

Hammel, Green & Abrhamson (HGA) is a full-service architecture, engineering and planning firm with offices around the U.S. HGA focuses on providing lasting, flexible and environmentally intelligent design to corporate, healthcare, arts, religious and education clients. For more information, visit