Magazine

Olympic Preparations: Salt Lake Airport Ventures into New Lighting Technology

As the U.S. waited for February 2002 when the Olympics came to Salt Lake City, the city had undergone a great deal of planning and construction to prepare for the festivities. New companies and services had been created and established businesses had geared up with remodeling and renovations to accommodate the 1.5 million anticipated visitors.
Salt Lake City Airport is just one of the many places that readied itself for the arrival of tourists, athletes and media. Recently, a comprehensive lighting retrofit was completed in its parking garage, switching from 150-watt high-pressure sodium to 125-watt lamps.
Making history
Salt Lake City is an area rich in history and scenery. The town where Brigham Young settled to begin a new religion is situated on land once occupied by pre-historic Lake Bonneville, in a valley between the Wasatch Mountains and Oquirrh. Despite its rather remote location, it has become a populated and lively region, home to over 1.1 million residents, as well as professional sports teams, numerous religious denominations and many cultural attractions.
It is hard to believe that it has been six years since Salt Lake City was named as host of the 2002 Winter Olympics. But the city has been ready for much longer; it has sought to bring the Olympics to Utah for over 30 years. To make the city more appealing, world-class hotels, convention centers, parks and other attractions were built and redesigned.
Preparing for arrival
As the only major commercial airport in Utah, the appearance of Salt Lake City International Airport often gives the first impression of the city and state to visitors. When the Olympic Committee announced Salt Lake City as the host of the 2002 Winter Games, the operator/manager, Salt Lake City Department of Airports (a division of Salt Lake City Corporation), re-evaluated its appearance and services to guests.
John Cluff, P.E., Electrical Engineer, Salt Lake City Department of Airports, was consulted, because the lighting in the short-term parking garage was a key concern. The parking structure sits adjacent to the terminals and has three levels dedicated to the public and the ground floor reserved for several rental car companies.
The existing garage lighting was installed in more than 1600 luminaires. These 150-watt high-pressure sodium systems provided footcandle levels of 8 to 12. However, Cluff explained, the lighting had become significantly less energy-efficient with age and airport management had received many complaints from employees and customers of the rental car companies regarding the lighting inadequacy. In addition, the entire electrical control system needed updating.
"The car companies did not like the color quality and light quantity that the HPS systems provided," explained Philip Cardin, lighting representative for Steven Sales Company. "The employees found it hard to see paperwork and do their jobs and customers weren't able distinguish their cars from the others in the lot."
Seeing the light
When the lighting scheme was designed in the 1980s, HPS was at the height of its popularity. This lighting technology was heavily used in roadway lighting and parking areas. However, HPS systems give a low color rendering index (CRI), or, the ability to accurately depict true colors. On a scale of 1 to 100, HPS lamps give a CRI of 19 to 22 and the light color they emit is a dim orange-yellow.
Cluff realized that changing to a newer lighting system was necessary. With the help of lighting specifier Mike Selcho of Spectrum Professional Services and Cardin, the three found that metal halide lighting technology was the only technology to produce a quality light that would be inviting to visitors and bright enough for the car rental companies to distinguish cars and complete paperwork. Cardin, in turn, promoted metal halide technology from Venture Lighting International.
The key to improved lighting performance is the combination of formed body arc tubes and pulse starting, energy-efficient that optimize the performance of the entire system. Pulse starting contributes to longer life and increased light output over the life of the system. The shaped arc tubes give improved lamp-to-lamp color consistency, higher lamp efficacy and faster warm-up.
A smooth landing
Energy savings, one of the criteria for the change, is calculated to be 515,758 KwH. This translates into an annual cost savings of nearly $25,000. More and better light, the other requirements specified by the Salt Lake City Airport, were easily achieved by converting from the dim orange HPS to bright white pulse start metal halide.
"We're all very pleased with how easy the installation was," shared Cardin. "And everyone is more than satisfied with the light -- it gave us the best energy story while, at the same time, increasing the quantity and quality of light in the parking garage."

1,628 Uni-Form MH125W/C/U/PS lamps and Venture Lighting V90H8810K CWA ballasts were specified for the Salt Lake City Airport parking garage retrofit.

Article Abstract from March, 2002




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