1st Choice Savings & Credit Union Banks on Precision Illumination with Higher Target Efficiency

Challenge: The Lethbridge location of 1st Choice Savings & Credit Union in Alberta, Canada, was designed to be a bright and inviting facility with an open lobby, a high ceiling and glass facades that allow lots of sunlight into the building. While the architect had the best of intentions, the lighting of the lobby became an issue as unforeseen circumstances came to fruition.

One of those issues had to do with the physical position of the building itself. Facing north, the large windows offered plenty of daylight on sunny days, which is always welcome in a commercial space. This caused a tremendous amount of glare, however, during prime working hours that made it difficult for staff members to do their jobs. To rectify this issue, the maintenance team applied a tint to the windows.

The tinting strategy amplified the illumination issues in the facility on overcast days. The 22 legacy 150W indirect/direct metal halide fixtures provided inadequate illumination for the lobby and many of the members visiting the facility were compelled to comment on how dark it felt, especially the high number of elderly members. The fixtures were doing a poor job of throwing light out across the space and instead light would puddle on the floor and ceiling, which resulted in poor illumination levels as both the teller and the customer were blocking the light from each side. Staff frequently found it difficult to perform critical tasks.

Additionally, the metal halide fixtures’ recurrent maintenance issues were becoming cost prohibitive and 1st Choice would often wait to service these fixtures knowing that another issue was destined to come up shortly. Lamp and ballast failures were prevalent every week or two and a quick fix upgrade to Medium Base MH lamps proved to be unsuccessful when the burnouts continued.

Solution: The team at 1st Choice called in Optics Lighting, and they evaluated a number of lighting solutions. The team realized that LED technology would most certainly solve the maintenance issues but noted performance would still be challenging due to the unique dimensions of the room and the ceiling.

After a thorough evaluation, the team decided it would be beneficial to pilot KIM Lighting’s innovative ArcheType X luminaire. It has the ability to precisely place light where it’s needed most with higher target efficiency. In ArcheType X, LEAR modules are individually controlled to provide custom adjustable light distributions, an industry first. Each optical assembly accommodates 359-degree rotation and tilts between 0 and 70-degrees, making it one of the most versatile luminaires on the market today.

Benefits: The lighting at 1st Choice is more efficient; it is evenly illuminated across the entire ceiling and the required footcandles are being met on the floor. In fact, the custom distributions of the ArcheType X presented the opportunity to reduce the number of fixtures needed to light the space from 22 to 14 while achieving greater uniformity and efficacy over anything that could be accomplished with a standard IES distribution. Less luminaires are needed to do the job, and 1st Choice is now using 57 percent less wattage. The legacy fixtures operated at 3,300 Watts. The new ArcheType X fixtures operate at 1,414 Watts.

The improved light distribution has made an impact on the members visiting the facility and staff who work there. Feedback from the staff members indicates the improved lighting has improved conditions and made them more effective in their ability to serve customers.

1st Choice has been pleased with the cost savings to date. In addition to using less energy, it is saving money on maintenance costs will less frequent calls to the electrician. It is also in the process of securing a utility rebate as well and expects to incur additional monetary savings once its application is approved.

“It’s important that our facility reflect our brand standards, be inviting, and demonstrate a professional and trustworthy persona. With the ArcheType X we have a LED luminaire that blends in perfectly with the aesthetics of the designed space, is more energy efficient than our legacy fixtures, has decreased our need for on-going maintenance and, most importantly, improved the quality of light in the space for our members and staff. We’ve got the best, most efficient lighting where we need it, when we need it.”

-1st Choice Savings & Credit Union CEO, Jason Sentes