Case Study: Lutron Wireless Controls Drive an Energy Retrofit at Pepperdine University

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An environmental tradition with a greener future

On Pepperdine University's campus in Malibu, Calif., sustainable design is not a new idea. Since 1972, when the school first introduced its water-reclamation program, the university has embraced sustainable practices and environmental stewardship.

When the opportunity arose to implement a major lighting retrofit on the university’s Drescher campus, Les Thomas, Manager of Energy Services, used Lutron wireless controls to maximize energy efficiency while ensuring that Pepperdine remained a comfortable, productive place for faculty, students and staff. The school reduced lighting energy use by 20-30 percent in the renovated space, and the costs were covered by available utility incentives.

Southern California Edison’s Private School Program provides private institutions with services to implement cost-effective, energy-efficient measures to permanently reduce their electricity usage. In addition to a fixture retrofit, two control opportunities were identified:
• Install occupancy sensors to turn off lights in unoccupied offices and classrooms.
• Reduce HVAC costs in unoccupied classrooms by leveraging the lighting occupancy sensors in a cost-effective way.

The original plan anticipated installation of a wired system, but the installation and material costs exceeded budget requirements, and did not ensure satisfactory results.

Working with FCI, Thomas proposed a lighting control solution that included Lutron wireless occupancy sensors, switches and relay modules in each area to ensure lights are turned off when the space is empty. In many rooms, Lutron wireless wall switches provide three-way control without additional wiring.

He also recognized the opportunity to reduce energy used by the HVAC system. To capture this opportunity, wireless contact closure modules (CCOs) were installed with the remote variable air volume boxes, which regulate air supply in each classroom. The CCO modules communicate directly with the same wireless occupancy.

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