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LED Lighting Takes Center Stage at University of Maryland

Retrofit reduces maintenance costs and adds visual appeal to university performing arts center

September 2015
LED Lighting Takes Center Stage at University of Maryland
Wall washers in the CSPAC atrium illuminate the hallways that line the atrium during the day (left) and evening (right), as well as some surrounding areas.

There’s never a good time for a light bulb burn out. The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (CSPAC) at the University of Maryland (UMD) knew the inconvenience of lighting maintenance all too well. Open nearly 24/7, the CSPAC continually required upkeep for its 87 halogen lamps. In need of a solution, UMD evaluated lighting alternatives and ultimately decided to replace the inside of their wall washers—light fixtures placed on walls and vertical surfaces—to reduce maintenance, which also resulted in an energy savings of 80 percent.

Completed as a GATEWAY demonstration, PNNL led the all project documentation and completed of the final report. The project showed how solid-state lighting technology can go beyond energy savings to also reduce maintenance costs and provide visual appeal to spaces. As a performing art center, it was important that the lighting lend to the aesthetics and interest of the atrium boundaries. UMD hoped to create even light distribution on the walls and floor, with favorable color and dimming features. Wall washers, known for illuminating large areas and playing up the appearance of vertical surfaces and walls, were used in the CSPAC for just that reason.

GATEWAY demonstrations, supported by DOE’s Solid State Lighting (SSL) Program, facilitate a hands-on experience for evaluating LED products. High-performance LED products are tested in real-world situations that cannot be replicated in a lab, providing valuable information on product performance and cost effectiveness.

The project compared two LED wall washer options – a complete LED wall washer and an LED module retrofit of the existing wall washer – to determine which type would be the best solution for replacing the hallway lighting. . After testing mockups of both lighting options, the LED module was selected for its ease of use, visually pleasing lighting quality, and lower cost. Most importantly, the LED technology succeeded in significantly cutting maintenance costs.

To learn more about UMD’s retrofit, see the full report on the DOE website.

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