PMC Lighting Showcase: The SUNY Albany ‘Palm Trees’ Project

By 09/10/2020News

After Upgrades

At PMC Lighting, we are often presented with challenging projects that call for creativity and precise engineering. In fact, our Build-2-Spec projects are known to become some of our favorites. This project at the University at Albany, State University of New York is one that is on our memorable list. It highlights our ability to design and engineer custom fixture solutions combined with our industry-leading lighting technology.

Before Upgrades

First…a little history.The buildings at SUNY Albany were built over the course of several years in the 1970s and were designed with slots cast into the concrete structure.  The buildings have square concrete support columns with four angled slots on each side of the square for a total of 16 slots.  The result looks like a palm tree. The first iteration in the 70s was done with fluorescent fixtures which were then retrofitted later on with newer fluorescent.  With our modern focus on energy efficiency, the University decided it was time to upgrade these fixtures. The challenging part: the fronds are angled on one end and the ceilings are concave…and SUNY Albany has 1,100 of these ‘palm trees’ with 16 fronds each throughout the campus.

Before Upgrades, SUNY Albany Library

How did PMC Lighting learn about this project? During LightFair 2017, held in Philadelphia, PMC’s Larry Crystal  was introduced to Bou Reed from Guth-DeConzo Consulting by David Konarski (Principal, Outside Sales) of Ferrini-Konarski Associates. After some discussions, a rough draft of the work and preliminary drawings were in hand. Later, after several site visits by Larry and PMC Lighting’s Director of Product Engineering Craig Nevers, we presented a true custom solution and won the contract due to the labor savings that our unique design offered.

(L) PMC Lighting’s Director of Product Engineering Craig Nevers Visits SUNY (R) A View of the Palm Trees Project

We are building whole new linear fixtures that fit these concrete slots, with LED lighting, electronic wireless controls for on/off and dimming, and a new lens structure that fits to the curved ceiling and is pulled into place to match the curves which can vary throughout. The fixtures take this into account and can be built to match whatever the particular building presents for sizes.

In these multistory buildings, the palm trees repeat from floor to floor. The building support columns that form the trunk of the trees repeat one on top of the other on all floors. While viewing the building from the outside, you can see stacks of palm trees, not just trees spread over one floor. We continue to work through the campus building by building as we continue their upgrade process. Stay tuned for more updates on this project!

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