Color Kinetics relights Philadelphia’s famed Boathouse Row

July 8, 2005
A new application for intelligent solid-state string lights is expected to save $57,000 in annual operating costs.
Boathouse Row LED lighting technology supplied by Color Kinetics has played a prominent role of its in the relighting of Philadelphia's famed Boathouse Row.

Unveiled at a public ceremony on Thursday, June 30, the new LED-based lighting system replaces the previous 30-year-old incandescent system, and is expected to save the Fairmount Park Commission approximately $57,000 in annual operating costs.

A popular Philadelphia landmark, Boathouse Row comprises twelve boating clubs in ten architecturally distinct buildings along a half-mile stretch of the Schuylkill River. Prior to the relighting project, the Fairmount Park Commission was spending more than $50,000 per year on bulb replacement and $8,000 per year on energy costs.

The new system encompasses more than 12,000 individually controllable nodes of Color Kinetics® iColor® Flex SL - a flexible, LED-based "string light." Each node is driven by Color Kinetics' custom-engineered Chromasic® microchip, allowing for intricate, colorful lighting sequences in addition to simple white light that closely matches the previous incandescent system.

The LED-based system also features the benefits of long source life, durability, and reduced energy consumption, which translate to reduced operating costs.
Fourth of July

"We knew that LEDs were the optimal light source for the project, based on their energy efficiency, lifetime and controllability, yet Color Kinetics' technology even exceeded our expectations," said Shannon Yott of Pennell & Wiltberger, Inc. (PWI), who co-managed the architectural lighting design and specifications with Troy Martin-O'Shia, architectural and lighting designer with Hase & Associates, Ltd.

"Not only do we have the ability to cut operational expenses with the LED-based system, we can quickly and easily program customized effects for special occasions - an option that was not possible with the dated, incandescent system."

To showcase the capabilities of the new lighting system, a series of colorful, dynamic light shows were created and programmed by Martin-O'Shia and team for the grand unveiling, in addition to red, white and blue effects for the Fourth of July.

The light shows are authored and controlled by Light System Manager, Color Kinetics' Ethernet-based software/hardware solution that facilitates the authoring, management and control of complex installations that may scale to thousands of individually controlled LED nodes.

PECO, An Exelon Company, spearheaded the project, dubbed "The PECO Challenge. . . Relighting Boathouse Row", in partnership with the Fairmount Park Commission, the Schuylkill Navy of Philadelphia and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 98, who donated all labor. A public campaign, the challenge raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from individuals, corporations and foundations in addition to a start-up contribution from PECO. Additional contributions were provided by others including PWI.