Case Study Details



500,000 Square-Foot Distribution Center Installs 100 Percent LEDs and Reaps Benefits

In 2013, SJS Commercial Real Estate began developing a new 524,800 square-foot distribution center in Reno, Nevada. It had unique design challenges to address and specific sustainability goals in mind for the new Gateway Commerce Center. One goal was a complete campus-wide industrial lighting solution to illuminate warehouse, office and outdoor parking areas and walkways. The solution needed to offer nighttime visibility and safety while reducing energy and maintenance costs.

With the goal of achieving LEED Gold certification, SJS Commercial Real Estate partnered with JP Engineering and Jensen Electric to discover a solution to maximize daylight harvesting while providing cool, crisp lighting for a comfortable work environment. SJS wanted to reduce the development’s carbon footprint as well as any tenant’s utility and maintenance costs.

There were a number of challenges that needed to be addressed when selecting a campus-wide solution. First, SJS needed a highly configurable solution that would benefit multiple tenants over time. Secondly, it needed a solution that could reduce energy usage and maintenance costs. High ceilings were planned in the facility’s warehousing area, and replacing burnt out lighting would be costly and time consuming, as it would require specialty lifts or scaffolding rentals.

Ultimately, SJS decided to install a fully integrated LED solution featuring lighting and lighting controls as part of the Nevada-based NV Energy Sure Bet Program. LED fixtures and controls were installed throughout the entire facility – in the warehouse area, office spaces and outdoor parking areas. Incorporating an entirely LED lighting solution was a first for SJS.

“For this application, we decided to use almost exclusively Acuity Brands fixtures,” said James Andrews, Electrical Contractor, Jensen Electric Company. “One of the most important things about choosing a manufacturer is the relationship after the sale. For me, it’s the brand I know, and if there are issues, the issues get resolved.”

Illuminating Warehouse and Office Spaces
A total of 836 I-BEAM high bay LED luminaires from Lithonia Lighting® were installed in the warehouse featuring a combination of integrated aisle motion controls, emergency controls and 360 degree motion controls. I-BEAM luminaires are ideal for larger applications such as warehouses due to their high-performance features and configurability – including both narrow and wide distributions to meet both horizontal and vertical light level requirements.

Integrated daylight sensors were also installed, which help minimize energy costs by detecting natural sunlight levels from built-in skylights.
“There are many times where the fixtures do not need to be on during the day because of the amount of daylight coming in,” said Marc Siegel, President, SJS Commercial Real Estate. “It’s ironic that we love this fixture because it is actually being used less.”

The fixtures adjust light output according to how much sunlight it needs to supplement, maximizing daylighting by illuminating only to the level necessary rather than over-lighting the space.

“Each fixture is individually controlled rather than grouping them together, which is extremely beneficial in daylight applications,” said Mark Tatro, Engineer, JP Engineering. “If there is a light fixture next to a skylight, it will dim, whereas one farther away would require more artificial light.”

In the office area, 104 Reality LED luminaires and 68 RT Series LED luminaires from Lithonia Lighting® were installed in the office areas with integrated 360 degree sensors from Acuity Controls.

Safety and Efficiency on the Exterior

While indoor lighting was a key aspect of the installation, it was also essential the Gateway Commerce Center use LED luminaires in its outdoor areas for LEED certification.

A total of 23 D-Series Area Size 2 wall mounts and 12 D-Series Area Size 2 pole mounts from Lithonia Lighting were installed in the semi truck and employee parking areas as well as the dock loading area. The luminaires incorporate high performance LED technology that maximizes energy performance and light quality.

Light trespass from the interior of the building reduced the need for exterior fixtures. However, as a key aspect of the LEED certification, it was essential the outdoor fixtures reduce light trespass onto other properties.

“It’s unbelievable how the lighting spillover outside the site has been eliminated,” said Siegel. “However, the outdoor areas within the site are still extremely well lit even with the reduced trespass. The fixtures are very successful at directing light where it needs to be.”


According to the Center’s engineers and project managers, it is a pioneer in the Nevada area in regards to LED lighting. While many applications are incorporating certain aspects of LED solutions, an integrated, building-wide system is still a rarity. “Of the more than 25 distribution centers I’ve worked with to date, this is the first one I’ve seen that has incorporated LED to such a high extent,” said Tatro.

Choosing a site-wide LED system provided a cost- and energy-efficient solution for the Gateway Commerce Center to achieve sustainability goals, while maintaining a comfortable work environment for warehouse and office employees.

In addition to energy savings, the facility also expects to see reduced maintenance costs associated with the project. In comparison to fluorescent fixtures, which have a shorter life expectancy and must be changed using a lift, the LED fixtures require little to no maintenance and can operate for more than 100,000 hours.

“We have never incorporated LEDs to this magnitude and are extremely pleased with the Gateway Commerce Center installation,” said Siegel. “Now that LED technology has improved and the price point is beginning to decrease, we are looking into similar projects for future applications.”

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Integrated Industrial Lighting and Controls Solutions
When working towards sustainability initiatives, installing a complete industrial solution – with multiple LED fixtures and controls – can be extremely beneficial to maximize savings. The Gateway Commerce Center includes the following industrial, commercial and outdoor luminaires with integrated sensors to achieve its lighting goals.

  • I-BEAM® LED luminaires offer higher quality illumination and consume less energy than comparable fluorescent and HID fixtures. The luminaires are affordable for many high bay applications such as manufacturing, warehousing and other large indoor spaces. Both narrow and wide distributions are available to meet horizontal and vertical light requirements.
  • Reality LED luminaires are ideal for retrofit or new-construction applications where energy savings, long life and functional delivered light levels are required. The luminaires are Energy Star certified with 80 percent less energy use than a comparable standard lamp.
  • RT Series LED luminaires are volumetric recessed fixtures that are factory-enabled with nLight intelligent controls from Acuity Controls. The fixtures deliver high-quality ambient white light. The luminaires feature a volumetric illuminator, on-board digital intelligence and full-range zero to 10 volt dimming.
  • D-Series LED luminaires provide a modern look ideal for many commercial and municipal applications. Unlike traditional luminaires, the D-Series family harnesses the power of advanced LED technology and precision-engineered optics to distribute the light to the target area in a prescribed manner.

Click to view the full Gateway Commerce Center case study.