At the University of Florida in Gainesville, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) GATEWAY Demonstration Program evaluated LED architectural and theatrical lighting in four academic/performance-related spaces within the Nadine McGuire Theatre + Dance Pavilion. Due to a wise choice of products and luminaire light distributions, the change brought significant quality improvements including improved controllability and color.

To read the University Of Florida report, click this link to view the 63-page PDF, published July 2014.

Here is Live Design’s exclusive Q&A with professor Stan Kaye, who ran the testing program at UF:

Live Design: What inspired you to do this testing?

Stan Kaye: The desire to provide objective information that is quantifiable and qualifiable, and not subject to manufacturer marketing, or individual artist/user preferences. I work at a research university and this type of testing and research publication meets a traditional mode of research not often found in performing arts programs. It demonstrates that arts faculty and graduate assistant students can participate in mainstream forms of research that can be nationally published and relevant to our industry.

I'm very much interested in building stronger bridges between architectural and theatrical lighting. I feel strongly that the fields have more in common than differences and each can help the other grow and prosper if we approach the work with an eye towards synergy.

LD: What was the most surprising thing about the results?

SK: The dramatic energy savings.

The vampire power of the internal electronics: We were not expecting that.

The positive response to the quality of light by non-expert people in both the theatrical and architectural testing we did.

The ability to get good vertical illumination with very limited glare from LED installations architecturally. This had been a challenge and I was particularly pleased with how we did this in the dance studio's general illumination.

That lighting devices have on-board computers, this is not new of course, but theater planners now have to think of performance spaces as "computer rooms." Dust and dirt will have disastrous effects and building scenery in spaces with these technologies should be avoided.

That even with the best of intentions from manufacturers, some data sheets may cause confusion.

LD: What will the impact be, if any, on the theatrical lighting industry?

SK: I'd rather not try to predict the future. But I hope it will provide some objective information that many may have already suspected or knew but it may validate those things. I hope the study can be used by everyone to support their needs to adopt, change, or upgrade their systems and inventories. The report provides hard evidence to make equipment requests have more validity and moves the modernization of lighting technologies forward. It dramatically answers the question, "Why should we spend money to upgrade to LED technology?" in an irrefutable way. Some may not need this report to convince others to make expenditures, but others may find the document useful for that purpose.

Click here for the University Of Florida report.

Check out the video below that shows side-by-side dance performances with halogen and LED side lighting at the University of Florida.