A grant from NYSERDA has helped update the lighting on the Bardavon Theater's
marquee with LED bulbs supplied by LEDtronics.
Sunbursts on the Bardavon Theater's marquee erupt with the warm shades of sunset,
while white light races around the listing of featured performers. Up on the
35-foot-high blade sign, the white lights within the open channel letters etch
the name "Bardavon" on the evening sky. This festival of light is
created by 3600 direct-incandescent replacement LED light bulbs that replaced
incandescent light bulbs in the marquee and blade sign.
The installation of the LED bulbs resulted in improvements in aesthetics, maintenance
and energy efficiency. "Incandescents were replaced for a number of reasons
not limited to power savings, replacement cost savings, and a new look and feel
of the marquee in general," explains Jason Adams, who orchestrated the
project for the Bardavon.
The Bardavon Theater, located in Poughkeepsie, New York, has hosted entertainment
for Hudson River Valley residents for over 130 years. Artists who have treaded
the boards include author Mark Twain, crooner Frank Sinatra and dancer Martha
Graham. A victim of suburban cineplexes, the Bardavon closed in 1975 and was
slated for demolition when local residents rescued the elegant venue.
As part of the renovation project, the Bardavon's original three-sided 1940s
era marquee and the vertical blade sign were replaced with replicas that still
used incandescent light bulbs as light sources. Later, the 3600 incandescent
lamps were replaced with energy-efficient LED bulbs from LEDtronics Inc., a
manufacturer of LED lamps based in Torrance, CA.
A grant from the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority
(NYSERDA) made it possible for the nonprofit Bardavon to switch to LED-sourced
lighting. Installation of the LED lamps was a win for both the theater and the
Authority. The latter fulfilled its mandate of promoting energy efficiency through
innovation and technology. And, the Bardavon lowered its operating costs because
LED lamps reduced by ninety percent the amount of energy consumed by the marquee
and the blade sign.
Following discussions with the LEDtronics' regional representative Jeff Mizel
and after testing several sample lamps, Adams purchased 3600 LEDtronics S14-styled,
Edison-screw based lamps (part number DEC-S14L-120A) in the colors of white,
yellow, orange, red and blue-green. The S14-styled LED lamps feature 25mm Edison-screw
bases that enable them to be installed into existing sockets without requiring
The marquee and the blade sign typically operate for 6-8 hours per show about
150 times a year, which averages about 3 hours a night over the course of a
year. Due to the use of chaser circuits all the lamps are never lit simultaneously,
but even so the 11W S14 incandescent lamps consumed 38 kW. At 3 hours per night
(118 kWh) at an average cost of $0.08 per kWh, the total cost was around $9.44
per day or $3445 per year.
LED lamps drastically cut the amount of energy consumed from 38 kW to 4.68
kW, since the 3600 LED lamps each draw 1.3 W. At $0.08/kWh, the annual electricity
cost for the LED lamps is about $124.40. That adds up to an annual saving of
$3203 a year, nearly $9609 over the three-year warranty period, and $35,233
over the typical 100,000-hour LED operating life. The annual energy saved is
Besides lower energy costs, the Bardavon has benefited from the installation
of the LED lamps in another substantial way - less maintenance. In the two years
since the theater's signs were reconstructed the Bardavon had only replaced
about 50 of the 3600 incandescent bulbs, but the theater's maintenance staff
was not looking forward to the inevitable day when batches of incandescent bulbs
would have to be changed.
bulbs on the marquee was relatively easy, requiring just a ladder; however relamping
the blade sign was more difficult. With the top of the vertical structure 50-feet
above street level, a boom lift was needed. If the marquee and blade sign operate
for an estimated 1,095 hours a year and incandescent bulbs lasts for an average
of 1000 hours, the incandescent bulbs would, mathematically, have to be replaced
about once a year. Assuming labor for changing the bulbs is $13 an hour and
there are 3600 lights that have to be replaced, the labor costs alone amount
to close to $51,246 for one year if all the bulbs had to be replaced at least
once during the year. This is before adding the costs of parts, boom lift rental
and operator pay.
When it comes to choosing lights for outside applications like the theater's
signs, it's hard to best LED lamps. Sealed assemblies make LED lamps able to
take the punishment of seasonal weather. Impervious exteriors safeguard the
electronics from water while the hardy polycarbonate globes protect the LEDs
from incidental impact and the deteriorating effect of the sun's UV rays.
Solid-state devices withstand the electrical stress from the use of chaser
circuits. Each time an incandescent lamp is turned on the filament within the
glass globe weakens and eventually breaks. LEDs don't have filaments to break.
Their solid-state electronics enables LED bulbs to be turned on and off any
number of times without worry of burnout. What's more, LED cluster lamps continue
to provide light even if one or more individual emitters fail.
The power and maintenance savings meant that the LEDs paid for themselves in
no time at all. Reducing energy and maintenance expenses freed up resources
for the theater's other restoration projects. LED lamps helped the theater achieve
its goals of reducing energy consumption, avoiding future maintenance expenditures
and updating the theater's façade.