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LED Light Installation in the Great Hall

 Foellinger Great Hall LED light fixture

September 2016

The future looks bright at Krannert Center thanks in part to phase one of our theatre lighting update. Well over 1,000 fixtures in our splendid Foellinger Great Hall—that’s basically all of them other than those over the stage and the twinkle lights on the balconies—have been changed from the original 1969 mix of 300-watt, 120-watt, and 65-watt incandescent fixtures to 105-watt, 65-watt, and 18.5-watt LED light fixtures.

The upgrade in lighting has utilized $100,000 of a $403,000 grant from the Student Sustainability Committee. Architecture professor Gaines Hall, who is a special advisor on capitol planning for the College of Fine and Applied Arts, initiated the grant proposal for the lighting project. “We couldn’t have done this without the Student Sustainability Committee funding,” said Michael Williams, the Krannert Center lighting director.

The grant money will also help pay for replacing all existing house lights in the Tryon Festival Theatre and the Colwell Playhouse. The center started with the Great Hall “because it has the most impact” as the largest space, Williams said, and it offered the potential for the greatest energy savings. The switch to LED lights in the Great Hall is saving the university $45,000 per year in energy costs. “We’ve been looking at (upgrading to LED lights) for a while, as the technology got better. We’re very concerned with the quantity of light, the quality of the light and the color of the light,” Williams said. “It was really important to myself and (Krannert Center director) Mike Ross that we keep the original aesthetics of the room with the light.” “[Another] huge benefit is there is no sound from the fixtures,” Williams said. “With the incandescents, you can hear this singing sound from the vibration. The audio department does a lot of recording in here, and they were amazed at how quiet the room got (after the installation of the new fixtures).”

When the work funded by the grant is completed, 98 percent of the building will have LED lights. In addition to the direct energy savings, the longer lifespan of LED lighting will also mean labor savings. Read more about the LED installation. Learn more about how we’re “greening the arts.”

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