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customer stories

NJ Convention and Exposition Center

Edison, New Jersey

Supporting constant change in a thriving convention center

No two weeks are the same at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center!

It’s the largest venue in northern New Jersey with more than 150,000 square feet of exhibit and conference space, sixteen loading docks and two drive-in doors. Plus, in its sister facility, the Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset, there is an additional 70,000 square feet of exhibit and conference space. It’s an environment where the floorplan changes constantly to accommodate a variety of public and private expositions, including conventions, trade shows, events, banquets and meetings.


Like many commercial buildings, energy costs were one of the top line item expenses for the Expo Centers. The largest source of energy consumption was the lighting system, so reducing usage was the first priority.

Flexibility was another must-have for a lighting system in this fast-paced and challenging environment, where events change from week to week, and multiple events can run simultaneously. In this environment, each event and each exhibitor not only has its own scheduling and lighting requirements, but also needs a different amount of floor space.

A third essential was a lighting system that was intuitive, easy to use and able to adapt to the everchanging needs of each show or event. It was also critical to be able to support a variety of activities simultaneously—load-in, set up, rehearsals, the show or event and load-out.


Working with the Expo Center team, the Kanepi Innovations™ team designed the wireless infrastructure that would give them the flexibility and adaptability they needed. HID lighting and traditional on/off switches were replaced with fluorescent fixtures and the Kanepi wireless mesh network, which provides complete building control through the web-based interface.

Kanepi is a dynamic, self-healing system, so it’s always reliable, and there’s no rewiring or downtime during moves, adds or changes. Lighting can be controlled by fixture or by zone through a variety of strategies including multi-level switching, scheduling protocols, zone control and more, reducing energy consumption by as much as 70 percent.

Each Kanepi node is scalable, opening the door to future needs by providing the capacity to integrate and control other building systems and devices. No new hardware will be needed to add applications if and when they are needed—things like perimeter security, heating and cooling control, air quality monitoring and other management controls. It’s also easy to extend the network to other parts of the building, everywhere lighting systems reach, from the loading docks to the convention floor, indoors or out.


Kanepi flexibility has made it easy to prepare for and support the activities related to each event, and can handle last-minute changes as well. “The web-based interface is very user-friendly, very self-explanatory. I understood it right away,” said Michelle Fitzpatrick, Executive Assistant for the Expo Center. “I can control the lighting for either building right from my desk. I’ve even done it from my computer at home. It’s very convenient. I just log in, select the facility, and then do what I need to do.”

The combination of the new energy-efficient lighting fixtures and Kanepi wireless mesh network has proven to be very cost-effective. For example, activities such as load-in and set-up that previously required all lights operating at full output can now be accomplished with lights dimmed to 50 percent. That capability, combined with other energy-saving strategies they employ, has made a measurable return on investment.

For the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center and the Garden State Exhibit Center, the Kanepi difference is in the numbers. Kanepi, working in concert with the lighting retrofits, is reducing their energy bills by approximately $2,400 and $500 per month respectively, a significant payback for investing in energy efficient components.