Take me out to the LED-lit ballgame

It takes about 1.8 million kilowatt hours of electricity to keep a big-league ballpark running for year. A big chunk of that amount goes into powering the lamps that light up the playing field. At Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians, for example, 674 lamps each consume 1,500 kW to illuminate the playing surface and the stands.

Most field lights are metal halide. So far, LED lighting isn't a possibility for this sort of application. "We've done a lot of research on this. The throw just isn't there for LED field lights and the glare is a problem for fielders," says Jim Folk, vice president of ballpark operations at Progressive Field.

Folk says he is talking to suppliers about the possibility of solid-state field lights, but doesn't yet see anything on the horizon in that area.

So far, score boards are probably the premier application for LEDs in sports stadiums. Other illumination tasks are harder to justify economically, Folk says. The park will convert all its emergency exit lighting to LEDs this year because these lights are on 24/7. But the switch to solid-state is much harder to justify for room lighting at the park. "We are only here 81 days a year," Folk points out.

More info:

Progressive Field sustainability:

Cowboys Stadium in Dallas had the luxury of being built when some kinds of solid-state lighting were practical, but it uses metal halide field lights:

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