Decorative LED Site Lighting Expert Discusses Sports Lighting

Sports Heroes on Outdoor LED Lighted Field
“Sports Heroes” Stock photo © Pali Rao

The metal-halide and other high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps used on sports fields do a brilliant job of illuminating night games. However, as outdoor LED landscape lighting becomes more and more efficient and affordable, big stadiums have been switching over—and smaller public, private, and school fields, park grounds, and other local recreational facilities are beginning to follow suit. This trend is likely to escalate.

Last year, LED lighting fixtures were running at about twice the cost of HIDs. But both hardware and installation costs are declining as LED manufacturers race to come up with luminaires designed to fit existing infrastructures. Thus the need to replace poles is going away—but quite often, fewer than half as many poles are needed. LED outdoor lighting fixtures focus light more efficiently than metal halide lamps, wasting less in “spillage” into adjoining areas while providing excellent illumination where it’s needed. Still, the overall cost of a retrofit is a serious investment. Return on that investment comes most quickly where lights are on most often, more slowly in a location where lighting is needed only infrequently. A field that uses its lights for only a few hundred hours a year falls into the latter category, one reason for the hesitation so far in switching over.

Other factors besides energy savings may also influence the decision to convert to LEDs on sports fields. At times, light pollution during games can make an outdoor sports facility a difficult neighbor; LEDs cause significantly less light pollution. Reduction of upkeep costs is another factor. Because the life of an LED fixture runs in the tens of thousand of hours (up to 100,000), and because the LED’s solid-state technology holds up to weather, maintenance and replacement needs are much lower. Cost savings can also be realized with visual entertainment features designed into many LED fixtures; playing with the lights costs virtually nothing. This aspect of LEDs are a big plus for a stadium whose main purpose, after all, is entertainment. It can also be handy for a smaller field with a smaller budget.

Whatever the size and aims of the retrofit, financial aid is available. To encourage energy customers to make the leap, both utilities and government programs offer a variety of incentives, advice, and rebates. It’s possible to save 12 to 36 percent off the nominal price of conversion to LEDs through incentives, but just as important may be the advice and assessment services that ensure the most cost-effective implementation.

Here in the Bay Area, PG&E offers an array of programs to help in the changeover to more energy-efficient systems. The Business Customer Service Center at 1-800-468-4743 handles the following, among other programs:

  • Business Rebates / Money Back Solutions, for rebates/incentives for qualified energy efficiency products
  • Continuous Energy Improvement, to develop energy-efficiency goals, implement best practices, and evaluate ongoing energy performance
  • Customized Retrofit, with customized incentives for high-efficiency retrofit projects
  • Energy Audits and Bench-marking, onsite energy assessment services to help create a strategic plan for implementing projects to reduce cost and increase energy efficiency

Meanwhile, PG&E’s Savings by Design Team at (415) 973-3803 is available to consult about energy efficiency in new construction, using the latest concepts in outdoor lighting design. Also, a public resource, Energy Upgrade California, has programs, resources, financing assistance, rebates and incentives for businesses to upgrade to more energy-efficient tools and appliances. These advantages coupled with lower upfront costs make converting to LED lighting feasible for a growing number of outdoor recreational facilities.

Next Step: Contact the Outdoor LED Lighting Projects Experts

With experience on a number of outdoor LED lighting projects throughout California and Nevada, we can assist you with your program needs.  Call the team at Great Basin Lighting today at (925) 240-1566 (California office) or (775) 333-0900 (Nevada office).

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