High-mast outdoor lighting applications are one area-lighting technology in which LEDs have struggled to find success with fixtures mounted at 100 ft or higher. Ewo, however, has installed its LED-based F32 floodlights in such an application on the apron of the Munich Airport (FMG) after first trialing solid-state lighting (SSL) technology at the airport two years ago.
The airport installation turned to LEDs to both slash energy costs and to provide better quality lighting. The prior high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights rendered colors poorly, as is common with all HPS lights. Low CRI isn't an issue in many outdoor applications, but the airport wanted lights that could boost safety.
"Assuring the safety of our passengers, planes and their crew, airport staff, and any other visitor is a priority at Munich Airport," said Günther Sellmeier, planning and project manager for exterior lighting and engineering and facilities at FMG. Ewo didn't reveal the actual CRI of the lights, but the Cree XT-E LEDs used in the fixtures have a minimum CRI of 70 and are offered at higher CRIs. HPS lights have a typical CRI in the range of 25. The higher CRI makes it far easier for equipment operators to see workers and other obstacles.
The airport projects a minimum of 50% energy savings with the new lights. That will equate to an annual reduction of 122,000 kWh and a reduction of 70 tons of carbon emissions.
The project chronology shows how LEDs are evolving and how long some SSL projects take to come to fruition. We first reported on the story in February 2012 when Ewo tested LED lights on two of the high-mast poles. Initially the lights delivered 46% energy savings. The final installation used newer Cree LEDs, and delivered better performance.
Slowly LEDs are catching on in high-mast applications. Last June we covered a freeway project in Maine in which Acuity supplied Holophane HMAO luminaires. At the time the Maine Department of Transportation said that the cost and weight of LED products had hampered the use of SSL in the application. Earlier, Cooper Lighting announced a high-mast project in Idaho.
Still, there are lighting professionals who think other light-source technologies may be most suitable for high-mast lighting. In an article on the 2012 Street and Area Lighting Conference over on our Illumination in Focus website, we covered a project at the Port of Oakland, California where Luxim LEP (light-emitting plasma) sources were determined the best match for a major retrofit of HPS fixtures.