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The 47-story Miami Tower, with an ever-changing color scheme of lights across its three tiers, is the most striking building in the city’s nighttime landscape. The fame, however, comes with a cost. The current lighting system uses hundreds of large 1000-watt metal halide fixtures with expensive, high-maintenance color gels. To light the building fully, Miami Tower must also lease neighboring roofspace at a cost of $110,000 per year.
Besides the expense, at a time when sustainability is increasingly embraced, Miami Tower’s visibility has made it a target for criticism over energy efficiency. Facility executives engaged JLL’s Energy and Sustainability Solutions experts to seek a better alternative.
After an on-site investigation, our project team determined that the 23-year-old system was showing signs of significant wear causing energy waste, and would likely need replacement in the near future. We recommended replacing the aging system with energy-efficient LED-based arrays that can deliver high-intensity multiple colors without the cumbersome gels. Our plan illuminates all sides of the building using more compact units mounted on setback roofs and newly-installed lighting poles, eliminating the expense of roof rentals. Using actual contract bids, our team developed three capital and annual operating cost options for replacing lighting all at once or in phases. Our total replacement proposal pays for itself in just over three years, and would save almost $250,000 annually after that.
The initiative promises strong environmental benefits as well, with an estimated 730,038 kWh reduction; equivalent to over one million pounds of GHG. This impact makes a strong statement about the building’s commitment to sustainability.
Miami Tower management was enthusiastic about energy reduction and cost savings, but concerned about how well the LED lighting system would work. Our team installed a sample array in a small section of the building, and ran side-by-side tests against the current metal halide system for a month. The verdict among stakeholders was unanimous: the more compact LED arrays provided more vivid lighting. Miami Tower executives, happy to have found a “win” solution for cost savings, energy reduction and aesthetics, are currently deciding on an exact phase-in plan for the new system.
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