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Famous for its hiking trails, solitude, and beautiful nighttime views, the Grand Canyon National Park, with more than 5 million visitiors each year, has upgraded its lighting control system.
The park hosts stargazing parties that allow visitors to gather in the parking lots of the north and south visitor centers with telescopes, cameras, and binoculars to enjoy the starry views. As the stargazing parties gained popularity and the crowds continued to grow, the park decided to upgrade its lighting control system. It needed to choose just the right system that would provide safe pathway lighting for the guests while also dimming the pole lighting in the parking lot to decrease light pollution and optimize stargazing.
To best optimize the stargazing experience while complying with the International Dark-Sky Association, the South Rim Visitor Center selected MH Lighting to upgrade its lighting system to utilize solutions from Vantage Controls, a brand of Legrand. “The Grand Canyon had a big challenge on this installation because it had to work with the safety regulations, color temperature, and energy requirements from the International Dark-Sky Association,” says Forrest Kelsey, director of technical services with Legrand. “The system design was based on the Vantage lighting control system including the DALI (digital addressable lighting interface) protocol, which provides the ability to send signals to each individual fixture and easily control the light level for the events. Additionally, the interface and system needed to be simple enough for employees and park rangers to easily control without a lot of training.” For the installation, MH Lighting used a single wire daisy chain that feeds through the individual fixtures to minimize the amount of wiring MH Lighting had to run through the park. Inside the fixture is a DALI driver from Vantage Controls that allows the fixtures to communicate with the central controller. Inside the visitor center there are two Vantage Equinox touchscreen control pads that employees and rangers use as the user interface for the lighting system. With that system in place, South Rim Visitor Center employees have full control of the pole lighting and walking path bollard lighting and are able to easily dim both during the stargazing parties. The lighting control system is also durable and rated for outdoor use in all weather. The entire lighting system currently covers three of the parking lots and meets the need to light pathways without interfering with any stargazing activities. With the success of the project, plans are in place to add existing coverage and to expand to the remaining lots.