Phoenix Convention Center Lighting Transformation Has Big Impacts

The Phoenix Convention Center is one of the largest convention venues in the United States. In addition to the convention facility, the complex includes Symphony Hall, Orpheum Theatre Phoenix and nine downtown parking facilities. Having just celebrated 50 years in service to the City of Phoenix and the State of Arizona, the center has led the way in revisioning its role in the community and its impact on the economy of the region.

As a department of the City of Phoenix, the convention center holds itself to the highest standard of sustainability. Through thoughtful green thinking and design, the facility has achieved its goal of becoming a premiere meeting and event space that will withstand the environmental tests of the future. Some innovative measures now in place include composting to feed plants in city parks, a living wall and garden watered with condensation from the HVAC system, sustainable seating with 31,000 chairs made from recycled car batteries and seatbelts, heavy recycling and reusable dishware and cutlery used where possible.

To continue this bold pursuit of transforming the facility’s impact on the environment, convention center leadership partnered with McKinstry on a lighting project to overhaul a highly complicated and physically challenging lighting system that will result in significant cost and energy use reductions. First, the team conducted an investment grade audit of the lighting and lighting control system for the center’s north and west buildings. During the audit, the team identified a comprehensive LED retrofit opportunity and designed a sophisticated lighting control system that maximizes energy and operational efficiency at a guaranteed maximum price.

In more detail, the survey and documentation covered approximately 1.8 million sq. ft. and over 15,000 lighting fixtures in exhibition halls, meeting rooms and the remainder of the interior. From this evaluation came retrofit recommendations, including replacing every fixture with long life, energy saving LED fixtures.

As for lighting controls, the project team selected a customized, front-end system which will give the operators one control center and the ability to tailor lighting set-ups based on customer requests, control the schedules of the lighting systems in each networked space, dim and turn on/off individual light fixtures remotely, adjust white‐tunability and monitor energy use. Built into the solution are motion sensing and heat mapping, an added value when serving event planners that informs operations and assists the center’s clients in achieving improved impact on attendees.

In all, this $7M project will improve functionality and lighting quality, while producing over $590,000 in operating savings annually for the City of Phoenix.

Recently name to CDP’s A List for its environmental efforts, the City of Phoenix has partnered with McKinstry on multiple projects since 2015. Over the years, we have witnessed the city’s dedication to and leadership in transitioning to clean energy to ensure efficiency and healthy environments for its residents, employees and visitors. The convention center project keeps them squarely on the path to long-term resiliency and certainty for the future.


Phoenix, AZ



Square Footage

1.8 million SF

Carbon Savings

2,514 tons annually

Services Provided

Facility Condition Audit



Lighting Controls