Iluminarc outdoor LED wash lights help save salmon in California bridge application

May 11, 2015
Redding, CA – Everyone knows that energy efficient LED fixtures like the Iluminarc Ilumipanel 180 IP LED wash lights are good for the environment, but in at least one case they can directly save the animals that occupy our planet too. This was recently demonstrated in convincing fashion at the iconic Sundial at Turtle Bay Bridge in California’s Shasta Cascade region.

The metal halide fixtures that had previously been used to illuminate the pedestrian/bicycle bridge were causing a serious threat to the sensitive salmon that spawn directly under the glass bottomed structure. As this halide lighting burned at night, it reflected into the water and in the air, allowing predators to find and decimate the salmon population.

Jeff Dennis of Multi-Lite USA (Burbank, CA) was called in as project manager to find a solution to this environmental issue. At the same time, Dennis was also asked to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the bridge’s lighting while reducing its environmental footprint. A “theatrical lighting designer at heart,” Dennis reached into his theatrical background to solve some serious lighting issues at the famous bridge. He also drew on “a significant amount of help from Todd Ricci,” lighting director for Bruce Springsteen.

“The main problem was that tens of thousands of salmon were being killed by predators with the existing metal halide light that was washing the bridge,” he said. “I worked closely with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to get this project in the city’s purview.”

Dennis and Ricci found a solution to the bridge’s lighting needs by turning to the Iluminarc Ilumipanel 180 IP, an RGBWA (red, green, blue, white and amber) outdoor rated LED wash light with impressive color mixing capabilities and integrated wireless DMX-512 receivers.

“The Iluminarc fixtures allowed us to give the bridge the looks that it needed while still giving us the flexibility to light only the sections that we wanted to highlight, while keeping any and all reflections out of the water from the bottom of the bridge,” he explained. “A critical factor was the Iluminarc panel’s split optics; they gave me the freedom to get the job done. Fish and Wildlife wanted a drastic reduction in light for the salmon, as well as a very specific color that aids their environment. This was something we could accomplish with the Iluminarc panels that we weren’t able to do with the metal halides.”

Dennis was already very familiar with the capabilities of the LED wash lights he would be using, as a result of Multi-Lite’s longstanding relationship with Chauvet Lighting, the parent company of Iluminarc. “We’ve worked quite often with Chauvet products and are very familiar with their quality as well as the reputation the company has for standing behind its products,” he said.

Using the Iluminarc LED wash lights, the new lighting system significantly reduced power consumption, saving the city of Redding 80% in utility costs over the previous metal halide lighting. “Before we were able to get this project completed, the City of Redding was changing lamps and ballasts around two times per year. Now, thanks to the Iluminarc fixtures, the city won’t have to touch the fixtures for seven or eight years,” said Dennis. “In relighting the Sundial Bridge we’ve not only saved the salmon living and breeding in the river and saved the city money; we’ve also given the bridge a new look and feel.”

Lighting control was a major factor in achieving the Sundial Bridge’s enhanced appearance. Dennis reached out to City Theatrical for a ShowXpress 512 system to control and create looks for the Sundial Bridge. “We wanted to have a simple to use control system for the city to be able to change the colors of the bridge to boost the feeling for certain events and holidays across the year,” he said. “Now, in addition to being able to dim the lighting down and change its color for the salmon, the city has is able to vary the look of one of its landmarks.”

Designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay is indeed one of the most distinctive landmarks in all of California. The support tower of the bridge forms a single 217 foot angled mast that serves as the gnomon of “the world's largest sundial.” Now thanks to a skillful design by the Dennis-Ricci duo and the Iluminarc LED fixtures, visitors can enjoy an even deeper aesthetic appreciation of this elegant bridge while the salmon below it spawn in safety.

For more about Multi-Lite, please visit

About Iluminarc
Iluminarc® is an architectural lighting company specializing in efficient dynamic lighting, including linear, pod and panel luminaires, and control systems. Iluminarc® seeks to inspire and empower designers and architects to visually enhance outdoor and indoor environments through the use of lighting. For more general information, please visit

About Chauvet Europe
Chauvet Europe is the full service European branch of Chauvet, based in the UK. Chauvet is a leading manufacturer of professional luminaires, truss and related equipment headquartered in the USA. Chauvet products are supplied globally under four main brands: CHAUVET® DJ, CHAUVET® Professional, Iluminarc® and TRUSST®. They share Chauvet’s unified strategy to pursue every market segment where it has a competitive advantage in terms of value, innovation and performance, with an emphasis on LED technology.


Adina Arhire, International Marketing Coordinator - Chauvet Europe
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