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Trophy Jobs 2005

By Jim Lucy, Chief Editor

From the world’s largest LEED building to the renovation of an 1869 opera house, EW picks some of the most interesting construction projects.

[Excerpt follows]
Blending the Best of Old and New

Bardavon Theater, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Way too many Main Street cinemas from a bygone era have been crushed by the omnipresent multiplex movie monstrosities at shopping malls. The Bardavon 1869 Opera House, located in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., has survived, though, with the help of some innovative lighting design and a grant from a public agency promoting energy efficiency.

Hosting entertainment for Hudson River Valley residents for more than 130 years, the Bardavon's list of performers 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 3,600 incandescent lamps were replaced with energy-efficient light-emitting-diode (LED) bulbs from LEDtronics Inc., a manufacturer of LED lamps based in Torrance, Calif.

A grant from New York State Energy Research & Development made it possible for the nonprofit Bardavon theater to switch to LED-sourced lighting. Knowledgeable about LED's reputed long life and power savings, Bardavon's Jason Adams contacted LEDtronics. Following discussions with LEDtronics regional representative, Jeff Mizel, and after testing several sample lamps, Adams purchased 3,600 white, yellow, orange, red and blue-green LEDs. The LED lamps feature 25mm Edison-screw bases that enabled them to be installed into existing sockets without requiring pricey modifications.

The marquee and the blade sign typically operate for six to eight hours per show about 150 times a year, which averages about three hours a night over the course of a year. The theater was hit with an annual electrical bill of $3,445 for the 11W S14 incandescent lamps, while electricity for the 1.3W LED lamps with their 100,000-hour lamp life cost $124.40, an annual savings of $3,220.50 a year, approximately $9,615 over the three-year warranty period, and $35,233 over the typical 100,000-hour LED operating life. The annual energy saved is 38,237Kwhs.

Besides lower energy costs, the Bardavon has benefited from the lower maintenance costs. The older incandescent lamps, which had a lamp life of approximately 1,000 hours, had to be replaced approximately once a year, and a boom truck had to be rented for the maintenance. Assuming labor for changing the bulbs was $13 an hour, the cost of replacing the 3,600 lights, including the cost of labor, new lamps, boom lift rental and operator pay was more than $51,000. The 100,000-hour lamp life of the LEDs eliminates this annual relamping. LEDtronics estimates that the theater annually saves more than $57,000 in power savings and maintenance, and that these savings quickly paid for the LEDs. Reducing energy and maintenance expenses freed up resources for the theater's other restoration projects.

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