Feature Article - October 2005
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Shed Some Light

How to avoid making costly mistakes when it comes to sports field lighting

By Kyle Ryan

Joint Operations
Can one set of lights work for multiple sports?

Given how expensive lighting systems are, why can't one set of lights work for different activities in the same area? Well, different sports need different illumination, so one set of fixtures won't accurately illuminate a multiuse field. But Shawn Good of Brinjac Engineering thinks some combinations can work.

"Let's say there's a football and a baseball field," he says. "You're going to end up having some lights that apply to both conditions and some that maybe are specific to baseball, because you need more light say at the batting area."

In this setup, the football would have a few of its own lights, baseball some of its own, but they would share several. However, Good cautions that such a system only works in a recreational facility, where the lights receive limited usage.

"You're going to have some lights that are operating during the baseball setting only and not needed during football, and maybe some that are needed during football but are not needed during baseball," Good says. "Then you have the set that's on all the time. And these lights, as far as metal halide lamps, tend to lose light over their life. As they deteriorate, if you're not running them together, you may not end up meeting your light levels everywhere you need to. If it's going to be used a lot, use separate systems."