New Facility Rides the Cutting Edge of Daylight Harvesting
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania's TechVentures2 Facility
Photo by ©Barry Halkin Photography
The new Ben Franklin TechVentures2 facility uses daylight harvesting lighting control systems from Lutron to reduce energy consumption.
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The award-winning TechVentures2 uses Lutron lighting control systems to slash energy consumption. AMX and other technology helped make this a LEED certified facility.
By Aaron Stern

energy consumption and spending by using automated lighting control systems that dim electric lights based on the amount of sunlight penetrating through exterior windows.

Inside and out, TechVentures2 encapsulates those principals. Designed by Bethlehem, Pa.-based Spillman Farmer Architects, the new facility incorporates external daylighting features like large windows with high reflective and insulation values and a roof-top glass atrium maximize the amount of sunlight entering the facility, while slatted sunshade overhangs above the exterior windows prevent glare and heat gain within the interior spaces.

Physical features inside also maximize the reach of natural light. Each window on the south-facing wall has a horizontal shelf 18 inches below the ceiling that protrudes 24 inches out into the room; the top of this horizontal shelf is mirrored glass that reflects sunlight coming through the small window above it back onto the ceiling and toward the interior of the office space. On especially sunny days, that amount of light can be enough that the office along the exterior wall and the hallway beyond it (which are separated by a glass wall) do not need any electric. And those interior glass walls are important as well, says Paul, “so if you’re in an inner office in the addition, you’ve got a view to the outside.” Little things like that go a long way with LEED standards, as one of the LEED measurements is the amount of square footage a facility has with views to the outside.

The glass atrium on the building’s roof illuminates its top floor meeting and conference center, which Paul describes as a solarium with a glass pyramid for a roof. The benefit of that bountiful sunlight reaches the third floor too: a glass block embedded in the floor of the fourth floor functions as a skylight to the third floor. Paul says one of the goals with the TechVentures2 building design was to match function with interesting architectural aesthetics.

“The pyramid did that job for me,” he says.

Yet while the physical features of TechVentures2 are impressive, perhaps the real magic of the facility is in the facility’s lighting control, where Lutron’s Quantum Total Light Management system automates and centralizes control of the lights and shades throughout the facility. Lutron’s digitally addressable EcoSystem dimming ballasts communicate with daylight sensors and automatically adjust the interior electric lights in accordance with current levels of daylight penetrating the interior. Nearly every window in the building has Lutron’s Sivoia QS automated shades with Hyperion solar-adaptive software, which help to reduce HVAC demand anywhere from 10 to 30 percent, according to Lutron. Occupancy sensors throughout the building turn lights off when spaces are vacant, but all lights in the facility have manual controls so that BFTP employees can override them if they so desire—something that rarely has to be done.

“Because of the occupancy sensors… people almost forget about the fact that there’s a switch on the wall,” Paul says.

BFTP selected Lutron’s Quantum control system because it brought shades, ballasts and lights under one centrally controlled umbrella while other vendors offered lighting control systems that connected disparate operations with various connective servers.

“But by definition when you have all those other links in the chain you have that much more

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New Facility Rides the Cutting Edge of Daylight Harvesting

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