Art & Efficiency Meet In SSL Gateway Demos

by | Oct 17, 2012

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A little over a year ago the US Department of Energy started a program called Gateway Solid-State Lighting Technology Demonstration Program. As part of a broader study on energy efficient lighting, the DOE replaced halogen and incandescent lighting at several museums. The outdated lighting was replaced with LED PAR 30, PAR 38 and MR16 energy efficient lamps.

The goal was to evaluate performance measures [pdf] of high-performance SSL products including energy consumption, light output and distribution and installation and control issues.

The numbers are starting to come in from the museums that participated in the project and they are looking favorable for energy efficient lighting retrofits. So far the galleries have shown an annual savings of 75%.

The exhibit was lit by Cree’s LRP-38 fixture, substituting for the standard 90-watt halogen product otherwise used by the museum.

As a part of the Gateway project: “The DOE has completed two dozen solid-state lighting Gateway demonstration projects, including the installation of LEDs on a residential collector road in Portland, a retrofit of lamps at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, Calif., and comparison of LED luminaries from four different manufacturers installed on Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive in New York City.”

Here are the full results of all the SSL Gateway demonstrations. The reports include detailed analysis of data collected, projected energy savings, payback analysis, and user feedback in a PDF available for download.

The museum part of this demo started last year around the same time that artist Chris Jordan asked the question: “What does consumption look like?” This thought-provoking question coincided with the Gateway project already happening in the galleries at the University of Oregon ‘s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

The artists’ composition, called Running The Numbers, depicted 320,000 light bulbs, equal to the number of kilowatt hours of electricity wasted in the United States every minute from inefficient residential electricity usage.  The artist, a former corporate lawyer, documents some of the worlds’ most recent natural disasters addressing issues of both sustainability and consumerism.

A further example of LED’s complimenting museum applications took place in the Early Modernism Gallery of The Smithsonian which was completely retrofitted with 2 LED lamps. Power use decreased from 3.9 watts per square foot to 1.1 W/ft2. The LED lighting reduced electricity costs in this single 1,200-square-foot gallery from $2,984 to $816 a year.

In a 10-year lifecycle cost analysis including maintenance savings, the total present value energy savings are $19,041 with a total PV life-cycle cost savings of $27,891.

“Museum lighting is a high-end’ application with demanding requirements placed on the aesthetic aspects of the illumination, such as color rendering and color temperature, and appropriate beam intensity and spread. JSMA found this LED product to be more than adequate in all of these respects,” wrote the Department of Energy.

As further results are reported and analyzed we are beginning to see a documented pattern of cost savings and decreased environmental impact. It seems no matter what your retrofit project entails, whether it be street lights or high-end gallery lights, LED lighting is the direction that businesses and cities are heading.

Danielle Stewart is a media consultant for [P2] Precision Paragon.

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