Exterior Lighting Aids Net-Zero Effort

Oct. 22, 2020

Student safety and zero net energy initiative drive exterior lighting design at California campus.

Plaza Verde is a housing complex on the University of California Irvine (UCI) campus. KTGY Architecture + Planning was commissioned to design the complex to connect east campus housing with the main institutional buildings.

Illuminating the way are Luminis’ Lumistik CL821 columns. “Security—real and perceived—is always a key consideration for undergraduate student housing,” said Benjamin Kasdan, associate principal at KTGY. “The goal is to ensure the resident students feel safe, but also to reassure their parents.”

To this end, transparency is an intentional design element, inside the buildings and out. All structures have breezeways on the main floors so pedestrians always have a clear visual path through the various buildings and across the courtyards. 

Lighting, too, is a significant contributor to that wayfinding, illuminating courtyards with bright, yet comfortable light. A 20-ft. vertical grade change required some special considerations, including sloped pathways to ensure accessibility. The clear lens of the Lumistik provides a wide distribution of light along the path and surrounding area, enabling students to safely navigate the elevation changes.

One of the key accomplishments of this massive project was designing to net-zero energy standards. Consuming only 48W, the luminaires deliver a robust 88 lm/W, with an expected lifetime beyond 50,000 hours. 

“The exterior lighting is a seamless element in the project,” said Kasdan. “It was a truly collaborative effort, as everyone worked well to blend all the elements. You can’t tell where the architecture ends and the interior design or landscaping begins. Lighting is a part of that.”

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