When the building manager at 201 Varick Street in lower Manhattan opens the electric bill this month, he'll see a change for the better. The 11th floor, a sprawling 23,000-sq-ft space with 65 workstations for U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service employees, is using 64% less electricity and saving more than $10,000 per year, says Con Edison.

The savings result from the installation of an energy-efficient lighting system and new energy-saving personal computers in the 1901-vintage building. The Electric Power Institute worked with Con Edison to bring advanced lighting from Lightolier, Providence, R.I., and the Environmental Protection Agency "Energy Star" office equipment to Varick Street.

The lighting system consists of energy-efficient electronic ballasts and fluorescent lamps mounted in highly reflective deep ceiling fixtures. Occupancy sensors turn off lights any time employees leave the work area for more than 10 minutes. Monitors sense changes in natural day light and adjust lights to save energy on sunny days.

The project won two awards. The General Services Administration (the federal government's real estate agent) won the 1997 Federal Energy and Water Management Award for Energy Efficiency from the U.S. Department of Energy, and Con Edison took home the Electric Power Research Institute's EPRI End-Use Leadership award.