inPRACTICE / TENNIS LIGHTING: Keep Your Eye on the Ball
Blackburn Tennis Center // Brookhaven, Ga.
Located in the northeastern suburbs of Atlanta, Brookhaven, Ga., is the largest city in DeKalb County, with a population of around 55,554 as of 2019. The city is home to nearly 20 parks, featuring diverse amenities. The nearly-50-acre Blackburn Park features full-size softball fields, picnic areas, a large pavilion, community garden, playground, shelters, trails and more. It is also home to the Blackburn Tennis Center.
Blackburn Tennis Center operates in partnership with the Universal Tennis Academy, which provides programming and the staff to support it. It is home to 18 lighted hard courts and features a pro shop with a stringing service and a variety of tennis accessories to support players. The tennis center is home to a number of tennis programs for children and adults alike, as well as casual play for tennis players of all abilities. The location also plays host for a variety of Atlanta League Championships and other special events.
Of course, with hours extending into the evening to support the widest range of players, lighting is crucial. When playing at night, consistent light levels are important, so players can see the ball at a high rate of speed.
The facility's original metal halide fixtures provided light, but the light levels associated with this type of fixture can strain players' eyes. What's more, traditional metal halide fixtures come with higher maintenance costs, and can be visually underwhelming.
When it came time to upgrade the lighting to a more efficient and player-friendly solution, AEON LED stepped in with the solution.
"The goal of the project was to identify particular pain points for the customer and alleviate them," said Shahil Amin, vice president of sales and marketing for AEON LED. "These included, but were not limited to: lack of quality illumination, energy costs, maintenance costs, safety and overall aesthetic of the facility. With this specific project, the facility was looking for a cost-effective lighting solution so that the lights didn't have to be changed out as often."
Before making suggestions for a specific solution, a photometric study was conducted to determine which luminaires would provide the best fit, providing uniform illumination of the courts. Ultimately, a one-for-one replacement was selected, and the original 108 1,000-watt metal halide fixtures were replaced with 108 230-watt LED luminaires, using the existing 48 poles to help minimize upfront costs.
"There are many benefits to switching to LED, including better quality of light at lower operational costs," Amin explained. LED luminaires feature a long lifespan—more than 100,000 hours in this case, which means little to no maintenance once the lights are installed, as the new luminaires will last more than five times longer than traditional metal halide fixtures.
What's more, Amin said, "With the instant on/off capabilities, there is no wait time for the lights to turn on." Amin added, "Less energy is being used to light up the facility at night with LEDs, so you can lower your utility bills by making the switch."
In fact, the facility expects its energy consumption to be reduced by 79%, from 116,640 watts relying on the traditional fixtures to just 24,840 watts using the LEDs.
In addition to replacing its traditional lighting fixtures with more energy-efficient and maintenance-friendly LEDs, Blackburn Park included AEON's HyLink Wireless Lighting Control System. This will help the facility "better control energy savings and lower operational costs," Amin explained. "They can turn the LED lights on from anywhere—on their laptop, tablet or smartphone. The fully integrated lighting management system gives the facility full control of the lights on the property."
Blackburn Tennis Center is looking forward to lower maintenance of its lighting, as well as the controllability made possible through the wireless lighting system. With its 18 courts, Blackburn Park will continue to offer a premier facility in the community for tennis events.
"Any sporting facility, whether indoor or outdoor, public or private, can reap the benefits of using AEON LED," Amin concluded. "We have done all different types of venues to help athletes, staff and spectators enjoy a more vibrant facility. It also helps alleviate the costly burden for the owner with energy costs, and the maintenance team with labor costs." RM
Ultimately, a one-for-one replacement was selected, and the original 108 1,000-watt metal halide fixtures were replaced with 108 230-watt LED luminaires, using the existing 48 poles to help minimize upfront costs. LED luminaires feature a long lifespan—more than 100,000 hours in this case, which means little to no maintenance once the lights are installed, as the new luminaires will last more than five times longer than traditional metal halide fixtures.
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