As part of Belmont’s ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability, the University has replaced decade-old 1,000-watt metal halide lights in the Curb Event Center Arena with 300-watt LED lights expected to bring the University $40,000 in cost savings annually.
“The largest drain on energy consumption on this campus was lighting this room,” said Director of Event Services David Graham while walking on the arena floor. “We had been working for some time to identify a solution. LED (light-emitting diode) technology was so new that everyone was hesitant to invest in it.”
Following the lead of Weber State University, Belmont University is the second college to illuminate its arena with LED lights originally designed for supply warehouses. The new lights and system are expected to be maintenance -free for 10 years and have a life expectancy twice as long, Graham said.
Unlike the previous metal halide lights that could be turned on, half way on and off but took minutes to warm up, the new LED lights are dimmable and instantly turn on and off. Paired with their new control system installed last summer, the Office of Event Services is able to create custom settings for events, including Curb College showcases, Opening Convocation and athletic games.
“We can go at any time and work with our clients to determine custom lighting, and there are individual lighting controls,” he said.
The women’s volleyball team uses the lights at 70 percent, and the University’s custodial staff needs the lights only at 30 percent to clean the arena.
Controlled with small wall-mounted touchscreens as well as an iPad, the new lights also give student athletes greater autonomy over their practice schedules with the capability to partially light the arena with a few clicks from their locker rooms to practice free throws and jump shots without having to track down someone in the Department of Athletics or Office of Event Services.
“There is not a question that having the ability to turn those lights on and off without having our players have to have a key makes it easier on the team. Now, when the arena is available, our guys can shoot,” said men’s basketball head coach Rick Byrd. “The lighting is much better, brighter and more uniform throughout the arena. Previously the side courts were not lit very well, and we use them for shooting and in the summer for high school team camps.”
The LED lights’ perfectly uniform color temperatures and light output also eliminate foot-candle challenges broadcast crews previously faced when televising games from the arena.
“It’s a really great 10-year project. LED bulbs and compact fluorescents are making their way into the home. This is the same thing,” Graham said. “We hope the other arenas will follow suite.”
Belmont University’s Curb Event Center is a 90,000-square-foot major sport and entertainment complex for athletics, concerts, speakers, trade shows, conferences and receptions. The arena is home to the NCAA Division I Belmont Bruin basketball teams and women’s volleyball team. In April 2014, the University will sand, repair and refinish the wood floor during a 29-day process.