Published October 25, 2012
Lighting retrofit project aimed at making Capitol Campus parking garage saferJOHN DODGE
A major lighting retrofit project is under way in most of the parking garages on the state Capitol Campus to make them more energy-efficient and safer for occupants. The $2.2 million project is expected to pay for itself in about 10 years through lower utility costs and reduced need for repairs, according to state Department of Enterprise Services officials. The six parking garages with some 5,100 parking stalls are slated for the lighting overhaul, which began in September and continues into December. The work by the McKinstry Co. takes place at night to avoid conflicts with state employees using the garages. The existing lights in campus garages cast low levels of yellow light that no longer meets building standards for parking garages. The new LED fixtures cast a white light that is brighter and renders colors and detail better. Enterprise Services is receiving some $700,000 in energy-conservation rebates from Puget Sound Energy to help pay for the project. However, the project got off to a bit of a shaky start this month in the first phase of work in the Plaza Garage, with state workers complaining the lights weren’t bright enough. Sensors dim the lights when the surrounding area is not occupied. “For employees who work late, the new lights felt even more unsafe than the old ones,” Enterprise Services spokesman Jim Erskine said. About 20 percent of the new lights in a test area in the Plaza Garage “E” level have been reset to burn brighter for employees who park there to determine if the new settings fix the problem. The new LED fixtures are being installed from 5 p.m.-3:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday in the state Department of Transportation building garage. The lights will be installed next in the Natural Resources Building garage, followed by the Columbia Street garage, the General Administration Building and Office Building 2 service-level garages, as well as the 14th Avenue tunnel.
John Dodge: 360-754-5444