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    5 years of dynamic LED lighting by Color Kinetics rejuvenating San Francisco City Hall

    May 13, 2020
    San Francisco city hall
    Completed in 1915, nine years after a devastating earthquake, the steadfast San Francisco City Hall has been a constant participant in the city’s historic events. Known as the People’s Palace, the impressive dome, is taller than the United States Capitol dome.

    The venerable city hall entered a new era of sustainability and forward-thinking technology as it is the oldest U.S. building to achieve LEED Platinum Certification for Building Operations and Maintenance in Existing Buildings. With significant water and energy savings, San Francisco City Hall hopes to set an example for other cities’ civic centers.


    Contributing to the LEED certification is the new LED lighting system from Color Kinetics. This lighting system saves money and energy, and promotes civic engagement, all goals of the city hall façade lighting project.

    City hall white light

    The former lighting system consumed over 31,600 watts to light the façade. If the city wanted to use colored lighting to highlight a special event or cause, several people had to spend hours placing theatrical gels on each of the 220 fixtures.

    The new Color Kinetics lighting system uses a combination of ColorReach Powercore gen2ColorBlast Powercore, and iW Blast Powercore fixtures to produce color-changing and dynamic white light. The fixtures work harmoniously to project high-quality light on the intricate details of the historic façade, bringing out its architectural details and helping the hall remain a center of activity.


    With colleagues from Arup, lighting designer Toby Lewis contributed her precision and artistry to the final lighting design. They created a design that allows both white-light illumination and dynamic, colorful light shows for celebrations and special events.

    City hall pride

    The Color Kinetics LED lighting system consumes 14,120 watts while lighting the façade, less than half of the previous system. The efficiency, long useful life, and flexibility of control offered by our LED lighting system all contributed to the decision to switch from conventional light sources to an advanced technology.


    San Francisco’s City Hall is entering a new century with its traditional focus on civic issues. City officials are conscious of how a colorful city hall can boost civic engagement while remaining mindful of its environmental footprint. The new lighting system promises to reduce exterior lighting costs by 70%.

    City hall

    The city hopes to use the easy-to-control color-changing lights to light the hall for charitable cause awareness and special events, including Giants World Series wins, Gay Pride Week, and civic occasions.

    “I think the new lighting system will bring more foot traffic to the hall and a sense of joy to those watching the façade lighting,” Lewis said. “City Hall can be proud that San Francisco is at the forefront of technology while saving money and energy.”

    The building remains an example to other American cities that the People’s Palace can be sustainable, save energy and money, and become a beacon of city life.

    San Francisco is such a resilient city, and it needs a place to reflect that. The 105-year-old City Hall is a sign of the city’s history and the direction it is taking forward. Technology, sustainability, and the symbols of this city are apparent in this new lighting system.


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    Post tags

    architectural lighting, Arup, color kinetics, colorblast powercore, colorreach powecore gen2, contol flexibility, dynamic lighting, energy savings, exterior lighting, facade lighting, gay pride week, giants world series, iwblast powercore, led, led lighting systems, LEED platinum certification, lighting designers, san francisco city hall, sustainability, techology, toby lewis
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