Philips restores Boston tower with energy-efficient LED lighting

Nov. 14, 2008
The Custom House Tower’s old lighting has been replaced with LED fixtures that consume one third the energy.
Custom House restoration As part of a celebration of sustainable lighting design, LED lights were unveiled on the 496-foot Marriott Custom House Tower last month. The former Custom House Tower, Boston's first official skyscraper and once used to collect federal maritime duties, is now a time-share hotel.

Previously lit by incandescent-based fixtures that had fallen into disrepair, the 26-floor tower has been restored to its fully-illuminated state using LED fixtures that consume one third the energy of the previous sources.

The permanent installation was revealed in October as part of illuminaleBOSTON 08, a five-day citywide festival focusing on the importance of sustainable lighting in the night-time urban environment.

The tower's lighting scheme was conceptualized by Lam Partners Inc., who had also designed the former lighting treatment 20 years ago. The design team chose new LED-based lighting fixtures from Philips Color Kinetics that consume less energy and require less maintenance with a projected lifetime of more than 20 years at six hours of use per day.

Approximately 125 eW Blast Powercore and eW Graze Powercore fixtures with Cree LEDs were installed on the Tower from the 17th floor to the peak, while energy-efficient metal halide fixtures from Philips Lightolier illuminate the building's base. The eW Blast Powercore (2700K) has an output of 1366 lm and a power consumption of 50 W. The 4-foot, 2700K model of the eW Graze Powercore was used and had output of 1616 lm and power consumption of 58 W.

"To achieve this kind of architectural application with white LED technology would have been unthinkable even just a year ago. Today the long life and efficiency of white LED sources will open up new possibilities for sustainable urban lighting,” said Brad Koerner, project designer at Lam Partners.

The former incandescent light fixtures were essentially replaced one-for-one in their existing locations and mountings. They incorporate Philips' Powercore technology to directly accept line voltage, which eliminates the need for external low-voltage power supplies and special cabling that were historically required to run LED fixtures. Both the LED and metal halide fixtures generate warm white light that closely matches the desired look of the former incandescent sources.

"This is a milestone installation in that it prominently showcases the arrival of LED systems for general illumination," said Jeff Cassis, CEO, Philips Color Kinetics.