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OSRAM SYLVANIA: Company Tackles Challenge of LED Upgrade at Art Museum in Kansas City


The internationally recognized Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, in Kansas City, Mo., has more than 33,500 art objects and is best known for its Asian art, European and American paintings, photography, modern sculpture, and new American Indian and Egyptian galleries.

So when it considered upgrading its halogen lamps to LEDs to save energy, the museum wanted to ensure that any new light maintained a true rendering of the art, and that as the mediums were illuminated, the artists’ message or creation were not dulled.

As the museum's lighting designer, Clint Paugh implemented a thorough testing process that lasted more than eight months and started with more than 15 lighting manufacturers. The list was narrowed down based on performance criteria.  

“Part of our mission at the Nelson-Atkins," Paugh said, "is to nurture excellence, inspire creativity, and build community through the power of art. Light plays a vital role in fulfilling those goals. Changing our lighting didn’t just involve changing out light bulbs; it was a project that impacted the museum to its core. As a result, it needed to be handled with extreme diligence.

"While saving energy and money is important, it couldn’t come at the expense of the high quality of our museum experience. Any new lighting had to create an environment that showcased the exhibits we are very proud to share."

To test the various lighting products, a a mockup room was outfitted with different materials, color schemes, heights, and fixture positioning. After products that fell short were eliminated, the final two manufacturers were tested using employee feedback and another unique process to engage museum attendees. Paugh created lighting kiosks using the finalists’ lighting solutions and placed them within the museum. The kiosks illuminated different mediums and enabled attendee feedback in the form of voting and donations.

Award-winning SYLVANIA ULTRA PRO HD PAR38 LED lamps were selected for illuminating the Nelson-Atkins because of the products’ superior beam characteristics, compared to other LED lamps, and the fact that the high-quality light maintained the look of the previous halogen lamps.

In addition, the lamps were chosen because of their high color rendering index, long life, and energy-saving benefits. The 17- and 18-watt LED lamps replaced 45- and 90-watt halogen lamps, delivering up to 81 percent energy savings.

As with halogen, the high center beam candlepower of the LED lamps puts the focus on the important artwork, including rich tapestries and gripping photographs, and the soft spill further enhances the displays.  The new LED lamps deliver HD performance with a 92+ color rendering index for color critical applications with exceptionally rich deep red content (R9>50), perfect for accentuating the exhibits. 

The lamps have a long 25,000-hours-rated life (L70) with a design life of 50,000 hours, lasting more than 33 times longer than incandescent solutions. That translates into lower maintenance costs. In addition, the high-power-factor lamps have a sleek lightweight design and are dimmable down to 5 percent.  

The product portfolio was also ideal because its broad assortment of beam angle options, such as spot (12°), wide spot (15°), narrow flood (25°), and flood (40°), met the various lighting needs across two buildings and 50 galleries.

These LED solutions were also chosen because the lamps produce virtually no UV or infrared radiation that can damage or fade museum furnishings, art, and other objects. They carry a five-year warranty, are free of mercury and lead, and comply with the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive. 

The Nelson-Atkins museum is now enjoying beautiful long-life light and annual energy cost savings of $13,697, thanks to the OSRAM SYLVANIA upgrade. The museum is saving about 192,960 kWh annually, resulting in an estimated 408,525 pounds of CO2 emissions reduced each year.  

“The new LED light from OSRAM SYLVANIA is gorgeous,” Paugh said. “We definitely went through an extensive process, but the end result was completely worth it and I am very proud of the outcome.  

"OSRAM SYLVANIA’s LED lamps deliver an excellent quality of light that highlights the beauty and nuances of the masterpieces in our museum. The fact that our employees and attendees were a part of the selection process makes me happy because the museum is for the community and they should be a part in ensuring it is the best it can be.”

For more information about OSRAM SYLVANIA, visit https://www.sylvania.com/en-us/Pages/default.aspx.

Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »   posted on: 9/29/2015

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