A pleasant sight for days made darker by the day: Beckman’s tower brilliantly lit up by 40 new lights.
Go ahead and visit the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology on a wintery night and feel inspired by the technological advancements and study inside—visit their site here: beckman.illinois.edu. Outside, visitors see the tower set aglow: LED (light-emitting diode) lamps do the work.
The lights turn on 15 minutes before sundown and shut off 15 minutes after sunrise.
According to Rob Fritz, director of facilities and planning at Beckman, F&S has replaced light fixtures with LED throughout the facility over many years and past remodel projects. The majority of these were ceiling troffer fixtures with T-8 lamps and electronic ballasts. New LED fixtures are smaller, lighter, and have more features such as color temperature, dimming, longer life, and reduced heat. LED lamps also do not contain mercury or produce UV light.
Fritz saw a chance to avoid future energy and labor costs by switching to LED lighting. While replacing T-8 fixtures can save up to 30 percent in energy, replacing incandescent lamps can save up to 75 percent in energy, per the Department of Energy, and new LED fixtures can last 25 times longer than incandescent lamps. Fritz worked with Brent Stull at F&S to configure a budget, and the in-house Beckman F&S employees installed the new LED fixtures.
“The implementation of new lighting for Beckman is an excellent showcase of our LED Campus commitment,” said Morgan White, associate director for Sustainability and interim director of Capital Programs. “We are making progress transitioning all exterior spaces and interior wayfinding to LEDs thanks to campus partners, including the Student Sustainability Committee.”
How’d They Do That?
Cody Nichols, an electrician, installed 36 4-foot long LED fixtures lighting up the perimeter brick and four more LED spotlights that light up the peak of the tower. Changing bulbs of that size challenges even the most patient professional.
Erich Smith, a carpenter, opened up a part of the tower’s ceiling to access a roof hatch found about 25-feet above the fifth floor. There is one access point for one person.
Fritz’s department owns a single-manlift basket that gives access to the tower roof. All material and tools enter there for all repairs and maintenance. It was like any other day on the job, according to Nichols.
“It’s not too unique to be on a lift 30 feet above ground to access that hatch,” said Nichols. “There’s not much else up there, just the lights. We definitely improved the aesthetics of the tower and it’s kind of neat to see it lit up at night.”
Sheet metal worker Guy Grant fabricated 72 brackets. These pieces of hardware mount the lights for better access and future maintenance.
Fritz appreciated the team effort it took to accomplish the lighting upgrade: “Go F&S! It was truly a remarkable feat. Beckman Institute operations staff members are dedicated to providing a safe environment for faculty, staff, and students. We are proud to team up with F&S through energy conversation measures. Beckman has high expectations in research and in craftsmanship.”