This amazing plunge in energy usage occurred at Walton High School and PS 86X, an elementary school. The two schools installed the new lighting systems as part of an experiment conducted by the Division of School Facilities, Board of Education, City of New York to gauge the cost-saving potential of LEDs.
The experiment began about four years ago, said Michael A. Fink of Magical Designs (Brooklyn, NY), who works as a design consultant to Prince Electric, which is under contract with the Division of School Facilities. “At that time, one of the division's inspectors approached me and asked if we could put in an LED (stage lighting) system at one of the schools so that they could take a look at it,” said Fink. “That school -- Walton High School -- was very large.”
All of the lighting on the massive (56'wide by 25' deep) stage in Walton's auditorium was subsequently replaced with Elation Opti Tri Pars and Design LED 60 Tri-Strips. The Opti Tri Par is a DMX-compatible RGB LED Par, powered by 18 3-watt tri-color (red, green, blue) LEDs. The DLED 60 Tri-Strip is a 68” LED strip containing 60 3-watt tri-color (red, green, blue) LEDs.
Twelve Opti Tri Pars were installed on a strip across the front of the stage. Behind it were three identical strips, each holding four DLED 60 Tri-Strips, plus five Opti Tri Pars positioned between the strips and at either end “to focus in on specific areas”. The total number of LED fixtures came to 27 Opti Tri Pars, and 12 DLED 60 Tri-Strips. Conventional fixtures continued to be used for Front of House lighting.
Where Walton's old stage lighting system had required 100,200 watts of electricity, the new LED rig ran on just 18,464 watts, Fink reported – a remarkable 81% drop in energy consumption. “And that number included the Front of House conventionals,” Fink said. “We proved that over a 10-year period the school could save more than $202,000 in energy and maintenance costs, because in addition to the lower electricity usage, LEDs don't require gels or lamp replacements. Also with LEDs the installation costs are lower because they require no dimmer rack and fewer circuits.”
Although school facility division officials were “pretty impressed,” said Fink, “they were new to LEDs so they wanted to look at longevity, quality, performance and other issues before they went forward.”
The decision to move “forward” was made this year when the New York Division of School Facilities requested that the auditorium at a smaller elementary school, PS 86X, be retro-fitted with LED stage lighting. The school's existing conventional lighting system was less than five years old, but already was “completely burnt out,” said Fink.
PS 86X now enjoys the distinction of having the first all-LED stage lighting system in the New York City public school district. Fink used the same Elation fixtures that had worked so well at Walton, installing a total of 18 Opti Tri Pars and three DLED 60 Tri-Strips on the school's 30'wide by 15-1/2' deep stage. A front strip over the stage contains 6 Opti Tri Pars, and a strip behind it holds the three DLED 60 Tri-Strips, along with four additional Opti Tri Pars. “The front lights give coverage over specific areas, while the back strip allows them to do band risers,” said Fink. The remaining 8 Opti Tri Pars are located on the front edge of the stage, four on either side.
The energy savings numbers at PS 86X were just as impressive as they had been at Walton: 12,400 watts consumed by the old system, and a mere 1,952 watts by the new one. The school district was so pleased that they have given the green light for an LED lighting system to be installed at a third school – this one a middle school.
In addition to the important requisite that fixtures be either ETL or UL approved, as the Opti Tri Par and DLED 60Tri-Strip are, Fink says that he chose the two units for use in the school projects for a couple of reasons. “First, with schools we want to keep it to the point where the fixtures are simple and usable, as both of these lights are. Second, we don't want to sell anything that we haven't heavily tested. At the time the first job came about, we had seen these units, tested them, and looked at Elation's service and replacement policy. Because of these factors, we decided that the lights were a good choice for schools.”
For more information, contact Elation Professional toll-free at 866-245-6726 or visit www.elationlighting.com
Magical Designs can be reached at 718-783-7249 or email@example.com