Light Up The Night

The strange thing about sports facilities–tennis and basketball courts, ball fields, soccer pitches, and others–is that we don’t often think of them as energy-hogging areas.

There are lots of things to consider when lighting sports fields.

And generally, they’re not, unless we’re talking about a professional-level stadium for baseball, football, etc., which has electronic scoreboards, P.A. systems, concessions, Wi-Fi, and more. In fact, the energy expended in a local or recreational-level facility is mainly that of the athletes.

Unless the facilities are lit for night play, that is.

While lighting can increase the playing day and allow a facility to accommodate more games (resulting in a better economic benefit for the owner), it can also create higher bills and quite a few concerns about eco-sensitivity.

At the same time, lighting increases the security of the facility (helping protect it against vandalism) and, more importantly, increases the safety of the user in avoiding unnecessary risk and injury.

Many products claim to help users save money, go green, and stay safe. The trouble is that buying into all of the suggestions at once can lead to costs that multiply exponentially without restraint. So how can a facility achieve balance?

Alex Levitsky of Global Sports & Tennis Design Group LLC in Fair Haven, N.J., says it’s often a matter of capitalizing on an all-important (yet sometimes under-utilized) natural resource: common sense.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed with the options available on the market and easier still to go into sticker shock when envisioning doing everything at once, particularly retrofitting a facility. But there’s good news, according to Levitsky: “well-designed facilities by responsible professionals are likely to be eco-friendly by default.”

They might cost more initially, but they’ll pay dividends in lower energy bills, good will, and saving the earth’s resources.

Doing The Math

Obtaining the correct information on your sports facility’s electric needs means taking a thorough look at what you’re currently using. The facility may be consuming more than you need. The statistics, after all, speak for themselves.

“Lighting accounts for 20 to 25 percent of the annual electricity usage in the United States,” notes Bruce Frasure of LSI Courtsider Sports Lighting in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“For court sports (tennis, basketball, volleyball, etc.) the proper lighting system can be designed to be eco-friendly through energy-efficiency. Since lighting is a major contributor to a court facility’s overall energy usage, it is important to focus on fixture efficiency. Using the most efficient light fixtures can translate into fewer fixtures, which translates into less power consumption, which means less adverse impact on the environment as a whole.

Proper lighting can improve safety and security.

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