Swinerton Builders

At a Glance


Real Estate

Project Type

Financial Evaluation and Planning




San Francisco, CA

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Annual kWh Savings:

34,000 kWh

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Annual CO2 Reductions:

24 metric tons


Eileen Hurley made recommendations to improve the energy efficiency of temporary lighting in construction sites.


Swinerton Builders, a commercial construction company headquartered in San Francisco, enlisted Eileen Hurley to identify ways to reduce energy use during the construction process as part of a multi-year Sustainability Plan. Swinerton has a companywide goal of reducing 20 percent the firm’s carbon footprint, inclusive of jobsites by 2020. Hurley was aware of the positive impact of energy-efficient lighting on Swinerton’s many LEED certified projects, but those strategies had yet to be implemented during the construction phase of these green buildings. So she went to work, evaluating the effect a similar approach to temporary lighting could have on Swinerton’s environmental impact.


After collecting and analyzing energy-use data and temporary lighting configurations at five jobsites across the San Francisco Bay Area, Hurley determined a full conversion from CFL to LED temporary lighting would not provide the return on investment that a combination of lighting timers and daylight sensors would. Most of Swinerton’s projects were completed in a short timeframe of less than 20 months including demolition, and the pilot site chosen for her analysis had an even shorter schedule of 15 months. As such, there was little time to recoup the initial investment that would be necessary for a LED conversion. However, more modest investments in timers and daylight sensors would easily be recaptured by the savings Swinerton could expect to see in its electricity bills. Eileen’s report estimates that Swinerton’s pilot project could save 62 percent of their temporary lighting budget and yield 80 percent energy savings by adding daylighting sensors and timers to the CFL lighting at the different floors and converting to LED at stairwells with timers.

Potential Impact

The calculated savings for the pilot project are just the beginning. Swinerton’s San Francisco/East Bay office averages 10 to 15 new construction contracts per year, a number that will likely increase as the city continues to address its housing shortage in the coming years. If implemented for all the planned 2016 San Francisco/East Bay projects, Hurley’s recommendations could save $100,000 in energy costs yearly. Furthermore, if implemented across Swinerton’s entire project portfolio, energy savings could reach $2.4 million in less than 2 years.

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