LEDs Light It Up At Rhode Island Hoops Arena


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They’ll be seeing basketball in a whole new light tonight in Kingston, Rhode Island.

That’s because the Ryan Center at the University of Rhode Island – home to the men’s and women’s Rams teams – will become “one of the first NCAA Division I college basketball arenas” to be lit up by LED lights, according to a news release from arena managers Global Spectrum and Ephesus Lighting, the company behind the LED system.

ryan center LEDs

Big arena, bright lights (image via the Ryan Center)

No word on how much the system cost, but the operating savings could be substantial: The lights are projected to trim power consumption at the arena by at least 80 percent. Because LEDs don’t need to be changed as often as standard lighting – the arena had used a metal halide lighting system that was installed when the building opened in 2002 – maintenance costs should also fall.

Global Spectrum apparently has some empirical evidence to back up the savings claims, having installed Ephesus systems at other arenas it manages. According to the company:

The 8,000 seat War Memorial Arena, home of the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League (AHL) became the first U.S. sports venue to light its playing surface with LED last year.  The savings and benefits were dramatic as power consumption has been reduced from 1150 watts to 297 watts; light levels increased from 105 foot-candles to 217 foot-candles; and, most importantly, overall power consumption has been reduced from 263,000 kilowatts to just 32,000 kilowatts for an 87% energy savings.

Along with the savings, there will no longer be any excuses for airballs by the Rams or their opponents:  The Rhode Island arena’s managers say the LEDs will improve brightness on the court “by more than 50 percent.”

Said  Jim Cordeiro, director of facilities at the Ryan Center: “The fact that we can have better lighting quality and substantial energy savings made it the perfect solution for our needs.”

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

  • Topbulb Guy

    You can always make a “the lights were too bright” excuse for an airball, especially if it’ll be 50% brighter on the court! But anyway, large areas like gyms could save substantially on electricity costs by switching all over to LED. There’s probably a large up-front expense with the installation and switch from metal halide to LED, though.

    • Pete Danko

      “The lights were too bright” — love it!

      I’ve heard that LEDs about four times as expensive, and that although they will pay back over time, the ROI can be low. But apparently it is now penciling out Global Spectrum.