Blackbaud Inc. (NASDAQ: BLKB) is the world’s leading cloud software company powering social good. So when this cloud technology leader broke ground on a brand-new headquarters building, it wanted the project to reflect its customers’ commitment to making the world a better place. For Blackbaud, this means connecting people with common interests on an eco-friendly campus, and that’s why the company chose LED lighting and controls from Current, powered by GE, to help achieve its goals.
Growing as One
In 2016, Blackbaud announced plans for a new state-of-the-art, 360,000-square-foot world headquarters in Charleston, S.C., that would bring its workforce together under one roof. And with extra space to incubate emerging organizations for social good, collaborate with customers and teach students to code through its Camp Blackbaud program, the building would also serve as a source of inspiration to its many visitors.
Together with JLL commercial real estate management and partners like GreenLight IoT, which brings smart buildings to life, Blackbaud set out to realize its vision. Importantly, Blackbaud wanted a lighting and controls solution at a reasonable cost that enabled big energy savings. The company knew LED fixtures consumed about half the electricity of fluorescent and halogen lights, and that features like dimming control could save even more, but it had not found the right product package delivering the right value.
A Perfect Pairing
That’s when GreenLight turned to its own smart ecosystem partners Current and Daintree to present a lighting and controls solution that could work in harmony now and in the future as other devices and technologies were introduced to the building.
Current showed Blackbaud how it could engineer LED fixtures that would elevate the look of the new office and operate about 60 percent more efficiently than standard lighting options. These stylish recessed and suspended luminaires balanced form and function in a way Blackbaud had not seen before, and quickly gained the approval of its project team.
At the same time, Daintree demonstrated how its wireless controls system could operate seamlessly with Current’s lights, allowing zonal control for easy on/off scheduling or dimming of fixtures. The system also provided daylight harvesting capabilities that would enable Blackbaud to take advantage of naturally available light to offset electricity use. Furthermore, Current’s LED fixtures could be set to 80 percent output throughout the building to reduce energy demand while helping extend the life of the product (due to less heat being generated by internal components). A 20 percent decrease in light output is barely perceptible to the human eye.
Less Cost and Complexity
Blackbaud especially liked how Daintree’s system eliminated the wiring between the sensors and controls, which can make deployments challenging in many buildings (and messy when walls must be opened to make upgrades). That the total Daintree solution amounted to just one-third the expense of a wired system made Blackbaud feel good about its final decision. With granular, automated control of its lighting, the company is now saving about 20 percent more in energy costs a year opposed to having no control.
Taken together, Current’s LED lighting and Daintree’s wireless controls solution have made the software maker’s new home about 80 percent more energy efficient than using standard fluorescent lamps alone.
“We looked closely at many options to reduce our operating costs and really liked the value Current brought,” said Jon Olson, Blackbaud’s senior vice president and general counsel. “They worked closely with our architects to accomplish our designs cost-effectively, and there were no price hikes or surprises. We made our own decisions on the lighting while they controlled the scope, and the communication with our people was excellent.”
As Blackbaud begins to utilize its new space, it further intends to explore apps and other tools that can drive productivity by using built infrastructure like lighting to collect and share data throughout the office, such as using occupancy sensors to show associates meeting room availability in an instant.
With input from Current and Daintree, GreenLight IoT will continue to help Blackbaud realize the full potential of its facility going forward, from saving energy in new ways to delighting staff and visitors with an expanding array of technologies that make the space even more responsive, adaptive and collaborative.
For this software and services provider, it’s all part of achieving a greater good, every day.
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