City large building lighting survey

This picture essay is to qualify what each building’s lighting output actually is.
The pictures were all taken at about the same distance and with the same f/stop at the same ISO or film speed. The only variable is the shutter speed. The objective was to expose with the camera the hottest points of each building as the average for the frame. So in these pictures they all look like the same intensity. However they are many levels apart in actual intensity. Now we can calculate how much light it will take to give the perceived light levels of the surrounding buildings.

To light any building of great height and size will take several fixtures according to the different features of the specific building. To have the available staging areas to place lighting fixtures that can hit the desired features.

The budget will determine how much area can be evenly lit. The power consumption is another factor that will need to be considered. The light pollution is another factor. A bad design or focus will loose too much of the power to the sky wasting energy and causing unnecessary light pollution.

The desired end result will be a City Hall that will have a comparable intensity to the other large buildings. The ability of city hall to be seen from the freeway, and the ability to be identified because of the color and shape. The best look from a wide shot of the news camera crews. Tourist pictures, civic pride

Notes upon what we found.

The Wells Fargo building:
The evenness of the lighting is highly varied across the large surface.
The energy consumption is high
The light output is no where near compliance with the night skies ordinance.
The light pollution is high
The output of Wells Fargo makes all the others need more power to be seen equal
The color is left over from Norwest Bank it doesn’t represent the current tenant


The Double Tree Hotel:
The even distribution of light is sub-par
The color was duplicated within a couple blocks of another
The light intrusion upon other properties is not in compliance
The design was a poor attempt to get light on a building that would comply
The fixtures used are not proper for the way in which the needs for light to be used
In a photograph the light doesn’t make it down 6 floors



The District Courthouse:
This is a pretty recent design and looks pretty good
The critique is that it doesn’t light more than 1/3rd of the east side
This may be a maintenance issue
The lower section on the building at street level is completely dark

The Metro Court Building:
This is another recent design and looks pretty good
It features many narrow spots up-lighting the columns
It has nice wall accents along the lower sections
It could use some sort of highlight rim or upper wash
The south end has no real light features

The Double Tree once again

The Compass Bank Building:
This building does not photograph well in comparison to others
The evenness of light is very poor
The number of fixtures is bare minimum to achieve any output
This buildings light output is several steps below the Wells building
Architecturally it has great features for lighting and would be easy to give it a good even output.
The light pollution is high
The light output is not in compliance with the night skies ordinance
The output vs. energy is another factor with this building



The pictures below are of city hall

Remember that this is one light shot from the street and not close enough to have enough power to truly compare to the other buildings in the area. It does help you see what colors look good on the surface. The nice part of the RGB LED fixtures we are proposing is we can choose the color amongst many slight variables. We can also choose to change the color at our whim. We can choose to have a rainbow of color down the side if the building if we so desire. We can make it red white & blue for the fourth of July. We can control it remotely and link it with other systems all over downtown. Each of these fixtures has 12 red 12 green and 12 blue 1watt LEDs with a total fixture power consumption of 50 watts.
The calculated life of the LEDs is 100k hours. That is about 11 years 24hr a day 7 days a week. The energy savings alone over the next possible device choice is about 1/8th to 1/20th per annual. Any conventional fixture will not give you the controllability or the color changing capability that these fixtures will. The long term cost savings alone is tremendous along with the longevity make the ROI very attractive.




The Bank of the West Building at San Mateo & Central: No Picture at this time
This building has experimented with several schemes
Currently it is purple on 2 sides and pink on the others
The evenness of light is once again poor
The only part that has good light is in the middle 1/3rd
Placement and type of fixtures is 35+ years old.
There are
The energy consumption is high

Note these critiques are from a professional lighting & design perspective. The technology exists today to design and predict with high certainty what the outcome of any design will look like. The portion of a new buildings budget that allows for the exterior lighting design has grown considerably in the last decade. The will of the people is more inclined to celebrate the nighttime visual beauty of its large architectural structures.

Architectural lighting design is the knowledge to shape light to affect the features of a building or shape. This includes the knowledge of the products that can achieve the desired result. Another benefit of proper design is to minimize the light pollution that is created by having the wrong type of fixture for an application. Because of the desire to light a large structure we will be shooting large amounts of light energy into the air. So to minimize the unnecessary light output from less educated designs or inferior equipment makes this an important service.

All material on this page and all linked pages belonging to I-Systems Inc. are © copyright protected.
No permission is granted and, in fact, it is strictly forbidden to make use of this material, in whole
or in part, for any purpose without obtaining written permission. Violators are subject to legal action.

Individuals are allowed to download and/or print photos for their own private use.