A critical letter about the use of chemical pesticides on its lawns in 2008 led
to a series of steps and decisions at Farnsworth Art Museum that culminated with
a resolution to become a leader in environmentally sustainable practices. Converting the entire museum from
halogen to LED light bulbs was a major part of that decision.
The effort will
make the Rockland, Maine, institution one of the first—if
not the first—art museums in the nation to use LED lighting for all
of its galleries. The lights will dramatically reduce the museum’s
energy consumption, allowing the Farnsworth to allocate more funds for programs
For the LED project, the museum has partnered with Efficiency
Maine and California-based LEDtronics. The relamping will not only help protect
displayed artwork by
reducing the potentially harmful effects of standard lighting on works
of art, but it will also provide budget relief while promoting a healthier
by reducing energy use.
The Farnsworth currently has over 480 bulbs in its galleries with an average
of 75 watts per bulb. The museum hopes to replace all of its 75-watt halogen
bulbs with 15-watt LED and 14-watt CFL bulbs. The resulting savings on
electricity is estimated to be $15,800 annually. Additionally, with the reduction
unwanted heat that the LED and CFL bulbs will provide, the project is expected
to produce a savings of 127,950 unwanted BTUs per hour, and a savings
of 10.6 tons per hour of cooling.
As part of the collaborative agreement
with Efficiency Maine, the bulbs received third-party independent testing.
With the test outcome more successful
expected, Efficiency Maine has agreed to assist the project with a commitment
of more than $13,000 towards material costs. That commitment gives the
Farnsworth confidence that the project is a worthy one and will assist
in their goal to provide greater access to energy-efficient products for
businesses and individuals across the state of Maine.
With oversight by the Farnsworth’s curatorial department, a rigorous
review process identified two specific bulbs that satisfy lighting requirements
for most of the museum’s galleries. The LEDtronics PAR30A-15W-XIW-001M
LED bulb provides soft and unfocused light, while the PAR30A-15W-XIW-001S LED
Spot provides more focused light. Not only do the lamps adequately light the
works of art using up to 85% less energy than incandescent lamps, but they
also offer—with a CRI of 86—a wider spectrum of light more closely
approximating natural light, thus eliminating the adverse color effects of
typical incandescent bulbs.
In addition, in the long term the valuable artwork
is spared from damaging UV rays that other types of lights are known to emit.
LED bulbs produce no ultraviolet rays that traditionally fade the fine colors
found in artwork.
The new lighting
has already been installed in the Library Gallery. Installation in other
galleries and work areas will follow. The LED project is a multi-year
effort that will make the museum a leader in environmentally responsible
practices. Once this initial phase is installed, there will be further
incandescent replacements with another 200-300 pieces of the PAR30 LEDs.
project is supported in part with a grant from the Maine Arts Commission
and also supported by Efficiency Maine.
The products used:
LEDtronics Sales Rep Firm
involved with this application:
Pace Associates, L.L.C.
190 Bradford Corner Road
Woodstock, CT 06282-2004
Phone: (860) 974-2735
Fax: (860) 974-2579