LED lighting for sports
Singapore, 7th April 2011
One of the projects I am currently involved with involves the re-lighting of a club’s tennis courts. The previous installation commissioned by a local supplier is very unsatisfactory with inconsistent lighting levels and glare. A quick assessment of the courts easily (at least to experienced eye) reveals the origin; too low poles, in-appropriate flood lights and aiming pattern. The sad thing is that the installation was commissioned less than 2 years ago. Why did it turn out this way? Simply because the club’s committee decided to ask lighting suppliers to help them. We all know what that means, a biased proposal (what lights do we have in our store), mostly driven by profits and often no real expertise about the actual applicable lighting standards. Most of the time the decisions are driven by the perception that they get “free” advise from the suppliers….but cheap buy often turns out to be expensive as is the case here!
We were recently approached for another such situation by a city council wanting to upgrade their communal sports lighting facility. After having approached several suppliers for quotes they got so confused the decided to call a lighting consultant. The three different suppliers had provided them with 3 totally different solutions at 3 totally different prices. The differences varying from just a few poles and floodlights to large quantities of poles and floodlights! Understandably creating a very confusing situation which is very difficult to assess if you are not an expert in lighting. Who do you listen too? Each supplier has their own “convincing” story. How to see the trees from the forest? It looks like the profession of lighting design consultant starts to get better known and appreciated which is shown by these clients contacting us for help!
In Light Watch today I would like to share some news I came across when working on these projects. A tennis club in Holland (Club Volley in Eindhoven) claims to have the world’s first LED floodlit tennis courts. The installation uses about half the energy while complying to all lighting level, uniformity standards and glare control requirements compared to conventional systems. What is more, the installation is dynamic and flexible. In other words it can be dimmed to various levels and can be responsive to actual court usage. I am considering the system for my project, but not sure if the budget will allow it… some education and salesmanship needed!
Light Watch 68: Club Volley in Eindhoven