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American Tobacco Campus



Cree Lighting:

VG Series

304 Series Canopy

Edge Area

Projected five-year savings


Rebates and incentives

Duke Energy: $139,000

Return on investment

Three years

Net project cost


American Tobacco Campus (ATC) surpassed sustainability goals with the switch to energy-efficient LED lighting in the campus parking decks.

In the early 2000s, Capital Broadcasting Company purchased a historic cigarette factory and tobacco warehouse in Durham, North Carolina, with the goal of repurposing the space into a hub for local businesses. More than 100 tenants later, ATC serves as an office and entertainment district.

ATC pioneered a campuswide sustainability program that included converting the three parking decks to LED fixtures.


The existing metal halide fixtures in ATC’s 3,000-vehicle-capacity parking decks consumed a large portion of the campus’s energy use. ATC, with the help of Shealy Energy — now Border States — and Cree Lighting, devised a plan to address:

  • Poor lighting
  • High energy usage
  • High maintenance costs
  • High operating expenses
  • Outdated technology

Originally, ATC considered fluorescent and LED options. After looking at the Cree VG Series, ATC realized the energy savings, maintenance savings and light quality of the new Cree fixture exceeded the fluorescent option.

ATC installed 840 VG parking garage luminaries, which put out more consistent, low-glare illumination and unparalleled energy savings. ATC also installed motion sensors and multilight levels to provide maximum energy savings by only using necessary light.

The 304 Series Canopy fixtures were installed in the deck entrances, and Edge Area fixtures were installed on top levels. Edge Area fixtures were not originally in the plan, but the amount of energy savings and ability to use fewer fixtures made this an easy decision.


ATC was able to relight all parking decks and lower their operating expenses while providing better and more consistent light. ATC prides themselves on being on the forefront of sustainability by switching to LED products.