Sporting The Green

Boston’s TD Banknorth Garden has joined the ecological movement, as the arena sports a new energy-saving LED exterior lighting system that is also colorful enough to suggest the presence of a home team or any other special event.

The venue worked with Port Lighting Systems of Seabrook, NH to specify, design, and install the new lighting system and looks, replacing the building’s existing fluorescent and metal halide equipment with Philips Solid-State Lighting Solutions/Color Kinetics fixtures. Port’s Jay Lehrhaupt provided programming and system design, including fixture placement, choice, and counts. “I was also the integrator,” he says. “So after I tell them what I think they should use, I have to make it all work.” Outlining the north, west, and east rooflines are 116 ColorBlast® 12 Powercore fixtures. The focal point of the exterior is the southeast tower that rises above the roofline, visible from all directions, and consists of 381 ColorCast® 14 fixtures.

The major challenge for Lehrhaupt was choosing the right fixture for the tower “because there’s space for only 2' of throw, and not many LEDs have 110˚ beam spread. For the exterior, the fixtures also had to be hardened against the sometimes harsh New England weather, like snow loads on the roof that can dump on the fixtures.” Rich Testa of Testa Lighting was brought in to assist on the specific design of the looks for various occasions, while Lehrhaupt programmed.

The new system was programmed on and is run via a Pharos Architectural Controls Limited LPC 2 controller from Electronic Theatre Controls, which Lehrhaupt describes as “one of those bang-for-the-buck items. It’s not just a plain architectural controller. As soon as you start playing around with it, what you can do with it is worth everything,” he says. The system makes use of the LPC 2’s web interface, so the venue can change the lighting pretty much at whim. In fact, the control system is maintained by the Garden’s IT department. “Those guys can do it in-house with the web interface to turn the lighting on to what they want,” adds Lehrhaupt. “We only come in for major lighting changes. This is so important for this type of installation. With events three to seven nights a week, being able to program everything almost for the entire year was what I looked for in a controller.”

The venue is illuminated nightly at dusk and turned off via automatic control at 2am. When the Boston Bruins play at home, the building basks in a gold glow; for the Boston Celtics, an appropriately Irish green; and the Boston Blazers, a fiery red. Concerts are designated by a rainbow spectrum, while other special events keep it cool in blue. To celebrate a home team win, the building can do a wave through a chasing lighting effect. The install provides a 60% decrease in kilowatt consumption over the previous equipment.

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