Hallie Ford gets the LED in, patrons appreciate it
By Andy Giegerich
Digital Managing Editor
The Hallie Ford Museum's lights, similar to these, will save the exhibition space some 75 percent in lighting costs each year.
Willamette University's art museum is crediting a full-scale light replacement project with saving thousands on utility bills and in overall energy usage.
The Hallie Ford Museum of Art also enabled what officials said is "an enhanced visitor experience" by swapping out 483 halogen lamps with 483 LED lamps. The strategy will help Hallie Ford slash its lighting costs by 75 percent by saving 55,000 billed kilowatt hours.
“With our lights on up to 10 hours a day, our energy draw from lighting alone is enormous,” said David Andersen, the building's exhibition designer. “Unlike other businesses, we can’t simply turn our lights on and off during the day to save energy. We needed to find a way to reduce our energy use without affecting how visitors view art in the galleries.”
The art is served well because “the LEDs have better color rendition and provide an even blanket of light across an entire canvas, which enhances the experience of viewing an art piece," Andersen added.
The museum collected nearly $5,800 in incentives from Energy Trust of Oregon for the move.
Willamette began studying LED usage in the museum two years ago. A side-by-side evaluation of LEDs and halogen confirmed Andersen's suspicions.
“The real seal of approval came when the U.S. Department of Energy completed several studies of LED retrofits in museum settings including the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., the J. Paul Getty Museum in California and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Oregon,” he said. “The studies measured the impact of LEDs on a museum environment and showed that LEDs are really good, and if anything, may be better for artwork than the lamps we were using at the time.”
What's more, the halogen lamps generated heat that potentially harmed fragile art pieces.
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