New downtown HQ dims lights overnight

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - Manpower is tweaking candlepower as it seeks the sweet spot in the automated lighting systems for its new downtown Milwaukee headquarters.

Late-night observers who noticed the building fully lighted along the Milwaukee River earlier this month should start getting a dimmer view. The 5,100 or so lights inside the four-story building were set to go off from 7:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Most of the lights at Manpower's riverside plaza fade out at 10 p.m.

The light show reflects how the global employment services company is balancing aesthetics and efficiency. Manpower is seeking "green" certification of its building under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system. But it also wants to keep a spotlight on its $78 million headquarters, what Mayor Tom Barrett has hailed as "front and center" in Milwaukee's renaissance.

"We do want to be energy efficient, of course," said Jennifer Dettman, director of strategic sourcing and corporate real estate for Manpower. "But we also want to make sure that we stay in tune with the look and the feel of downtown and how it is lit up at night." Manpower will continue working with contractors to fine tune the lighting system, Dettman said.

She expects strategic exterior lights to stay on, including those on the flags - which represent a fraction of the 73 countries where Manpower has offices - and the water wall. All of those fixtures are energy efficient and shine downward, minimizing light pollution, Dettman said.

The 280,000-square-foot building is positioned to use daylight to illuminate more than 90% of the work spaces for the headquarters' 900 employees. Interior lights by the windows can automatically dim by 50% when the sun shines. Other lights use occupancy sensors to shut off when no one is around. Overall, the lighting remains a work in progress, Dettman said.

"We will probably continue to look at even further tuning down some of the lights as we take a look at it in the evenings," Dettman said.


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