Birmingham, AL – Upgrading public garage lighting for public safety

Signify and the City of Birmingham, collaborated on a project to modernize the City’s infrastructure by upgrading the current parking garage lighting to energy efficient connected LED lighting. The project is part of Mayor William Bell’s broader “Brighter Birmingham Lighting Plan,” which was designed to increase public safety, enrich the local community, and enhance energy efficiency through strategic improvements to the city’s lighting infrastructure. The plan also needed to provide a quick “Return on Investment” and sustainable savings, while initial investments needed to be kept at a minimum. The parking garage retrofits are estimated to save approximately $375,000 annually in energy and maintenance costs.

In total, Signify installed approximately 4,500 energy efficient lighting fixtures across seven different downtown parking garages. The Philips Gardco EcoForm LED site and area luminaires, along with the Philips Gardo G3 LED garage luminaires and Philips DW Vaporlume LEDs, are connected through a system in which they can be wirelessly controlled to modify the length and sensitivity of the lights to accommodate the needs of the city.

The plan carefully uses public funds through an innovative financing model comprised of energy savings and services eliminating the need for capital money. From the beginning, the Mayor’s team worked closely with the Signify government affairs team. Both the City and Signify worked together to keep the City Council and the Parking Authority informed. Another key element was using a local construction and engineering team who was very familiar with the parking decks and the City. This was not only positive for the local contractor who is gaining advanced technology experience, but it created peace of mind for elected officials keeping a local, professional presence for the projects.

The retrofitted garages feature new, motion detection sensor technology creating a greater sense of safety by turning up the lights when there is motion in the garage while keeping the lights down when there is no motion, which contributes additional energy savings. In addition, the sensors reduce loitering time in and around the garages. Beyond the financial savings and positive environmental impact, the parking garages are creating a new buzz about downtown.

Due to all the positive feedback, the City changed its construction plan sequence to address the garages near the convention center and in the theatre district predicting positive impact for downtown businesses. The city is sending a clear message to everyone; downtown is beautiful, safe and open for business!