LED lighting or air conditioning?

Nov. 1, 2004
Replacing existing lights with LED fixtures proved to be much less expensive than upgrading the air conditioning system in a small music venue in the UK.
Although the Academy 3 venue in Manchester, UK is a highly popular showcase for an eclectic array of bands, it also had a reputation as being uncomfortable and unpleasant for performers and audiences alike. The reason - the venue had a sauna-like quality, large due to the heat generated by 24 PAR-64 cans lighting the small area.

"We had to do something," explains lighting designer and technician Dave Morrissey, "and initially we considered upgrading the air-conditioning system." However, the venue was facing a bill in the region of £50,000 ($90,000).

However, Morrisey had seen James Thomas's PixelPAR LED fixtures in action at a trade show, and realized that the lack of forward heating could solve the venue's problems.

The cost of replacing the conventional PARs with PixelPAR 90s, including the wiring, turned out to be a little over half of what the AC costs would have been.

The result has seen a stunning transformation at the Academy 3. "Virtually every band and their tour or production managers have commented on it," says Morrissey, "all completely positive."

Visiting lighting designers are also really impressed, as the PixelPARs offer so many more creative options that the conventional lights.

The LED lights provide a vast colour range, increasing the overall versatility of the rig, plus there are no gels to buy or bulbs to replace, and no dimmers are required.

Also, the low power consumption of the PixelPARs means that the entire rig is run off two 16A supplies, with resulting lower running costs. "It's a venue operators dream," enthuses Morrissey, who is now looking at upgrading the lighting rig in the larger Academy 2 venue to use Pixel range fixtures. He predicts that this is the way forward in the future for venue owners and operators of all types.