LED lighting systems are not just for rock-and-roll shows anymore. Today houses of worship are incorporating this fast-emerging lighting technology to create dramatic splashes of color in customizable environments that support the service and its message.
There has been a renewed focus on earth-friendly and energy efficient lighting, especially in the house-of-worship sector. LED lighting systems are an inherently sustainable choice. They are already four times more efficient than incandescent and halogen sources, while rapidly gaining ground on fluorescent. LED’s contain no hazardous mercury, a recycling nightmare, and the longer source life decreases replacement and waste. The fixtures are compact and radiate little heat, which means they can be discretely installed in tight or difficult-to-access spaces.
LED systems also offer a host of aesthetic advantages, particularly when lighting with color. When coupled with digital microprocessor control, LEDs are capable of producing millions of colors and color-changing effects without the need for colored gels, filters and color scrollers.
The design possibilities are nearly endless, whether you want to wash an altar in a single vibrant color, or generate a backdrop with individually controlled LED nodes to display low-resolution video. In the use of white light, LED systems can allow variable color temperature – ranging from “cool” to “warm” light with the simple push of a button. It is important to note that LED sources are only one component in a complete lighting system. The integrated fixture or lamp comprises many complex layers from thermal management, binning and optics to high-efficacy LED drivers and advanced power components. To complete the system, one must incorporate solutions for power and control.
Intelligent LED lighting systems are feature-rich and fundamentally different from traditional lighting technology. As a result, they require different advancements in power technology. For low-voltage systems, an integrated power/data supply is required to transmit both power and “information” to each fixture, either through the industry-standard DMX protocol or Ethernet.
In 2004 Color Kinetics introduced Powercore® technology, which integrates power and data management directly within the fixture, allowing it to accept line voltage for simplified installation and improved efficiency.
Control options range from simple, pre-programmed devices to highly sophisticated control solutions that encompass light show authoring, storage and playback. For installations that may scale to many thousands of controllable LED nodes, Ethernet-based solutions are available that exceed the limitations of today’s DMX controllers.
In an upcoming issue of TFWM, we will feature an example of incorporating LED’s into a church. “The Hub”, is the new youth center for Christ Community Church, St. Charles, IL. It was designed by Paul Wonsek Associates, and the systems were integrated by Production Resource Group. The photos shown here are from The Hub. The concept of the space was to create an ever-changing environment that was sometimes colorfully green, always environmentally green, and youthfully different for each visit. Using new technology for track, tube and linear LEDs, Paul Wonsek created an energy efficient color changing design that could change in an instant from vibrant youthfulness to sophisticated elegance!
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