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Today in Energy

January 30, 2015

Upcoming Super Bowl will be first to be lit with energy-efficient LED lights

image of LED lighting, as explained in the article text
Source: Ephesus Lighting Inc., used with permission

Before the start of the 2014 NFL regular season, University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona, home to Super Bowl XLIX, retrofitted 312 high-performance light-emitting diode (LED) stadium light fixtures. The LED fixtures replaced more than 780 metal halide high-intensity discharge (HID) fixtures and will illuminate the field during the Super Bowl on February 1.

University of Phoenix Stadium was the first stadium in the NFL to light its playing field using only LEDs. The new lights draw approximately 310 kilowatts of energy compared with the 1,240 kilowatts required by the old system, a savings of about 75%. Assuming an electricity cost of 15 cents per kilowatthour, that means the new LED lighting costs about $47 per hour to light the field, compared to $186 per hour using the HID lighting system. Lighting maintenance costs for LEDs are also expected to be lower. The vendor also projects a 30% decrease in stadium cooling costs as a result of the LED fixtures, which generate less heat than HID lights.

Given the limited hours that stadium field lighting is used, there are other considerations beyond energy costs and savings for selecting LED lighting. The light output from LEDs may allow for better color representation and more detail during televised viewing, especially during slow-motion replays, improving picture quality as consumers adopt higher definition displays. In addition, the LED lights turn on without the 15-20 minute warmup period required by metal halide and other HID lamps. In the unlikely event of a power failure such as occurred during Super Bowl XLVII at the Superdome in New Orleans, LED field lighting could return as soon as power was restored.

Although University of Phoenix Stadium was the first NFL stadium to light the playing field exclusively using LEDs, it is not the only NFL venue using the technology. Levi's Stadium in San Francisco uses LED lighting to illuminate 40% of the stadium, and NRG Stadium in Houston recently installed 480 luminaires with 650,000 individual LEDs to help light the playing field.

Principal contributor: Dale Sweetnam

Tags: lighting