It’s one thing for do-it-yourselfers to take on backyard lighting
projects, but it’s another matter when a lighting manufacturer lights up
its own backyard – as in Southern California itself.
Torrance, California-based LEDtronics
is putting a literal shine on the regional landscape with its
innovations in light-emitting diode, or LED, technology. From the
coastal Santa Monica Pier and Vincent Thomas Bridge to the civic centers
of Los Angeles, Pasadena and San Pedro, to downtown’s City Hall,
Memorial Coliseum and Natural History Museum, LEDtronics is playing a
major role in lighting up many of the Southland’s storied landmarks.
Solid-state LEDs around the perimeter of Santa Monica Pier provide up to 90 percent in energy savings. Photo courtesy LEDtronics
“One of the charms of Los Angeles is that it is embraced by locals
and romanticized by tourists, and in order for L.A. to remain endearing,
the city and surrounding area cannot be seen in poor, dim lighting –
it’s not a good look,” says Pervaiz Lodhie, an entrepreneurial Pakistani
immigrant who in 1983 applied his mechanical engineering degree from
Cal State Los Angeles to found LEDtronics with his wife, Almas.
The welcoming feel of LEDs lends the “right look for L.A,” according
to Lodhie, considered a pioneer in LED lighting with dozens of patents to his name. Aesthetics aside, LEDs burn cooler, use significantly less
energy and last tens of thousands of hours longer than traditional
incandescent lighting, among other benefits.
A post-top LED lamp lights up the park adjoining Los Angeles City Hall. Photo courtesy LEDtronics
For iconic L.A. City Hall, LEDtronics was tasked with upgrading the 13 lampposts that light up the
tree-lined pathways and stairs of the grounds’ 1.7-acre park. “Our goal
was to make the area safer, brighter and more beautiful,” Lodhie says.
Energy-gobbling 130-watt high-pressure sodium lamps were replaced with
efficient 27-watt LEDs.
Besides city halls – Pasadena’s and San Pedro’s included –
LEDtronics’ mark on the illumination of the region is also seen along
one of L.A.’s busiest arteries; for the Memorial Coliseum
sign along the Harbor Freeway, 160 fluorescent T12 tube lights were
replaced with energy- and cost-saving LED T8 tube lights. Since LEDs
were installed, the freeway-fronting sign consumes almost 300 KwH less
per day, a 57 percent reduction in daily consumption, according to the
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission.
Helping Make a Pier Appear
Twenty miles up the Pacific coast from LEDtronics’ South Bay
headquarters and plant, one of only a few LED factories in the entire
United States, the company has added to the beauty of beloved Santa Monica Pier.
Its influence, which also includes a safer visitor experience, is seen
and felt from the boardwalk to the historic Looff Hippodrome that houses
the restored 1922-circa carousel. Along the pier’s perimeter, LED bulbs
glow from the beacon light fixtures that enhance the seaside experience
for seven million visitors annually.
Further south, Vincent Thomas Bridge’s lighting system includes 80 custom fixtures from LEDtronics that are
installed on both sides of the suspension cables. The blue beacon LED
lamps housed inside custom “jelly jar” fixtures are seen by 32,000
Vincent Thomas Bridge lights up with 80 LED units affixed to the apex of the suspension cables along with an additional 80 located at deck level. Photo courtesy LEDtronics
Light at the Museum
At the popular Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, over 4 1/2 billion years of history are not only shining bright thanks
to modern LED technology from LEDtronics, but being better preserved.
“LED-based light sources are generally safer for our sensitive
collections as they emit very little of the damaging infrared and
ultraviolet radiation associated with some traditional light sources,”
says Liam Mooney, the museum’s supervisor of media and lighting.
The Rotunda Building is one of several high-traffic areas of the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum modernized with artifact-gentle LED lighting. Photo courtesy LEDtronics
LEDtronics supplied bulbs for exhibit space, the perimeter of the
57-foot-high rotunda and other areas of the Exposition Park attraction.
Benefits of LED lighting go beyond maintaining the condition of the
museum’s fragile treasures.
“Where we have fully transitioned to LED-based lighting, we are using
a third less energy than we would be with traditional incandescent
lighting,” Mooney says. “Our staff is also spending less time working on
ceilings, in crawlspaces and other challenging conditions to maintain
The perimeter of Pasadena City Hall is illuminated by post-top LED lamps. Photo courtesy LEDtronics
In terms of visitor experience, the museum’s lighting chief points
out that the long lifespan of LED bulbs means “things are more likely to
stay as sparkling and legible as they were on opening day,” which, for
this facility, was 1913. “Visitors can consistently experience the
exhibitions as intended,” he says.
From brightening a prehistoric walking whale for 800,000 visitors a
year to illuminating L.A.’s light rail for 400,000 riders a day, locally
produced LEDs also assist those who use public transportation to get to
and from some of these popular destinations. Metro
is among the nation’s earliest regional transit agencies to adopt LED
lighting, having employed the technology since 2003. For its Metro Rail
system, the agency uses miniature-based indicator bulbs, tube lights,
intermediate-based bulbs and PAR (parabolic aluminized reflector) spot
and flood bulbs at the control panels and passenger cars of its light
A before-and-after photo shows San Pedro City Hall with high-intensity discharge lamps (left) and modern energy-saving brilliant white LED lights. Photo courtesy LEDtronics
While the majority of LEDtronics’ customers are understated and
nondescript to the outside world, the lighting manufacturer takes heart
in putting a shine on some of Southern California’s most used or visited
“Not too many companies can contribute to both the safety and beauty
of their own backyard,” Lodhie says. “How wonderful that we can do this
and save the public sector money at the same time, let alone helping the
environment. The millions of people we affect daily don’t know us by
name, but in this business there are other ways to bring what we do to
LED technology pioneer Pervaiz Lodhie and his wife Almas founded LEDtronics in Torrance. Photo courtesy LEDtronics
— By David Dickstein
Originally posted in the California Business Journal, April 8, 2019