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California State University, Fullerton

 Fullerton, CA  Outdoor lighting

Using Cree LED lighting, California State University at Fullerton (CSUF) is working toward a goal to become an all-LED campus with the long term objective to be a net zero energy consumer, meaning it will use only as much energy as it generates.


California State University at Fullerton (CSUF) is working toward a goal to become an all-LED campus with the long term objective to be a net zero energy consumer, meaning it will use only as much energy as it generates. The process is taking shape with energy efficient lighting solutions that include Cree® LED exterior luminaires controlled with an integrated wireless outdoor dimming system.

The massive project began with a phase one installation that includes lighting for a new six-level eastside parking structure, adjoining roadway, and pedestrian walkway that leads from the structure to campus buildings. Through in-depth evaluations, Cree was selected as the lighting supplier of choice for the majority of the project.

Cree Edge™ parking structure luminaires had previously been through an evaluation and selection process at sister campus CSU at Long Beach, one of 23 CSU campus locations, making them a natural choice for the CSUF team to install in the new parking structure. The project included 151 parking structure luminaires with two-level operation providing a high level LED drive current at 350mA while achieving a lighting power density well below California Title 24 Energy Code requirements. An additional 50 percent power reduction was realized in low level operation with the LED drive current at 175mA while illumination performance is reduced by only an approximate 30 percent.


The new parking structure lighting system operates 24/7 to accommodate commuting students and campus housing residents. Cree Edge™ Series luminaires include integrated two-level occupancy sensors to provide the flexibility of reducing energy consumption when the lot is unoccupied during night time hours and raising the illumination levels when occupants are present. The two-level feature is used on all fixtures that are not on an emergency circuit.

Twenty-seven luminaires feature integrated two-level operation without a sensor, making them equipped to be used with external controls that can select from various drive currents for high and low operation. The structure includes an additional 236 LED parking luminaires and the rooftop is illuminated with 20 Cree LEDway® Series luminaires.

CSUF’s manager of commissioning and energy, Doug Kind, compared actual metered energy savings on the structure to an identical facility on campus that is currently lit with fluorescent fixtures. The size, shape, number of elevators, and number of floors are all identical to the LED-illuminated structure. The results are 80 percent less energy use than the fluorescent-lit structure. “The Cree LEDway Series luminaire was selected as the overall best fixture and was awarded to the new campus standard LED fixture for all roadways,” Kind said. It performed very solidly on most every category and in the end it won the day. It’s strengths included efficacy of the LED, photometric performance, cost, ability to upgrade the LED light engines without having to change out the housing, automatically being able to increase the light output of the adjacent LEDs if another nearby LED goes out, etc.”

Thirteen LEDway LED streetlight luminaires illuminate a portion of the roadway and pedestrian path surrounding the parking structure.


The $24 million parking structure was below California’s Title 24 Energy Code Requirements by an astounding 80 percent resulting in nearly $120,000 in energy incentives from local utility company Southern California Edison®. The CSUF engineering team developed and submitted the lighting plan that uses only 20 percent of what is permitted for a normal parking structure of this size – an admirable achievement due in large part to the 414 energy-saving Cree LED luminaires.

According to CSUF’s office of Design and Construction, the new environmentally-friendly structure includes several sustainable and state-of-the-art features. Solar panels will be added to the roof of the structure with electricity generated from the solar panels feeding into the campus’ power grid. The landscaping around the structure consists of low water, drought resistant, local plants. The structure is also equipped with a bioswale, designed to direct excess water into plants for more efficient storm drainage, which will reduce the need for irrigation.

The university conducted extensive real-world research to select the best LED luminaires for roadway and pathway areas surrounding the parking structure. Narrowing the selection down to four manufacturers, the CSUF engineering team installed two fixtures from each company at a campus parking lot. A judging committee was formed with representatives from campus parking, safety, physical plant, and the chancellor’s office to evaluate the products using a strict set of criteria and a weighted scoring procedure developed by Kind.

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