Questions and Answers  

    Questions and Answers on Transcending the Bowl - Stadium lighting beyond the field webinar

    Talking about stadiums, is it possible to replace the main bulbs (Sodium and metallic) by LEDs directly to the field lighting?
    My experiences with stadium design have not included field lighting, however, stadium design is moving towards energy savings, efficiency, and sustainability – LEDs are in high demand for lighting, both on and off the field.
    I have a question about the field lighting. How it should be done?
    As mentioned previously, my experience does not extend to field lighting design. Due to the vast amount and variety of scope within a stadium, we are often paired with at least one other lighting design team as well as an engineer team to cover back of house, service corridors, exterior landscape, and façade lighting.
    How much automation / computerization for lighting these days? E.g. for sustainability, pollution etc.

    There is certainly a lot of automation and computerization built in lighting controls – timing through astro timeclocks as well as coordinated building management systems. Dimming and occupancy controls have become critical for energy-savings as stadiums are now pursuing LEED certifications at the highest level.


    To address sustainability and light pollution, stadium management teams are also being more considerate of the number of night games as well as hours of operation throughout the week that have minimal effect on surrounding residential and natural inhabitant environments.

    How do you think to set up event lighting in the play of field?

    Unclear whether this pertains to a sport event or other recreational event held on the field. If it pertains specifically to field lighting, I am unable to answer as all my previous experiences relate to lighting spaces beyond the field.


    For recreational events held on the field that require special effect lighting beyond the floodlighting installed to light the field, it is most common for third-party stage design teams to be hired to provide supplemental entertainment features.

    Can you please explain the importance of Illuminance on Vertical Planes and how is it specified?
    Unsure whether this question pertains specifically to field lighting, but I can address it more generally as my experience to date has not included field lighting. Vertical Plane Illuminance is measured to maintain optimal lighting of objects in play for players as well as for the players and surrounding bowl in media broadcasts. Design requirements for vertical illuminance on the field will depend on type of sport or show and the class of play as well as facility capacity. Camera position and distance from field are also relative as are the apparent speed and size of object in play. Best practices and recommendations can be found in Section 35 – Lighting for Sports and Recreation in the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) Lighting Handbook.
    What are we doing to account for the added weight of the LED Field lighting as opposed to the (Reflector-only, remote mounted ballast) for retrofit applications?
    I am unable to answer this question as my experience does not pertain to field lighting.
    What are the recommended horizontal lighting levels for the circulation? What lighting levels for the accent or high-lit areas?

    In our design process, we reference the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) Lighting Handbook, Table 31.2 Misc Applications Illuminance Requirements, where Public Circulation Corridors have a recommended horizontal requirement of 50fc and vertical requirement of 30fc. Where there are feature walls or dramatic features/retail venues, a 10:1 or 20:1 illuminance ratio between focal point and task light is recommended to make these elements and spaces more evident and appealing.


    As I mentioned in my presentation, it’s about getting everyone from entry to seat/suite but along a more meandering path with a few pauses or stops along the way.

    What should the event lighting focus on? Such as team branding?
    The actual extent of our involvement with such lighting is often limited to providing color-changing light. The actual branding material and sponsorships are not always known in the design stages of stadiums. It is more common to know whether the stadium will be home to more than one home team and whether it will be intended to allow for multi-sport use. Off the field, color-changing lights allow all team/sponsor colors to be available to create feature moments and identify with the team in play. On the field, lighting will need to meet the needs of all sports regarding horizontal and vertical plane illuminance requirements. 
    In floor lighting? E.g. giving directions with color coding/arrows etc.
    We like to propose in-grade lighting to break up the monotony of all lighting coming from the ceiling. Due to structure and environmental design implications in seismic activity areas, our ingrade features are typically targeted during coordination conflicts and VE discussions. We have achieved wayfinding techniques with ceiling and wall-mounted lighting with means of color-changing, varying color temperatures, as well as lamp types.
    Having lighting on the facade of the stadium can have implications on the surroundings and drivers being distracted. What are your suggestions to keep this to the minimal?

    Such distractions would ultimately be taken into consideration with the preliminary design discussions and research of surrounding areas. Several international stadiums set in residential and or business districts will have a pedestrian buffer zone at the immediate perimeter. Where there will be moving elements at the façade, they may be located on non-moving traffic facades or the animations could be timed to be on when there is not high volumes of car traffic in the areas adjacent or outside of normal business hours to prevent distractions in residential areas.


    As with the Allianz Arena, color-changing at the façade was limited from dynamic to static colors only for the very reason you mention – cars were colliding on the neighboring A9 Autobahn. 

    How do you plan for integration of lighting controls with projects that take years, when controls technology and fixtures will change several times over prior to installation?

    We start our design discussions and charettes with the latest and greatest in mind. Over time, as we develop the design and coordinate between front and back of house, we begin the process of seeing what can still be achieved with the equipment specified on the project (often provided in the electrical engineers’ documents). When VE discussions begin, we often have to make choices that maintain adaptability for the stadium as a whole, rather than limiting special features to those with VIP tickets.


    Submittals are important to review – between our design as well as the EE team and any other lighting design team on the job – so we are all in line with dimming protocols, voltage intakes, and color temperatures as well. Understanding how maintenance and operations would like to access feature controls as part or separate from the building management system (BMS) (designers prefer to keep them separate) and how Ownership will experience the lighting effects they have hired us to provide are all part of the process with controls coordination and specification. And it’s most important to pay attention because without proper control of your lighting design, the original intent could be lost after all that coordination effort. 

    What is the criteria that, when designed, proves to cause less light pollution?
    Great shielding options and controlled beam optics. And lighting controls help maintain the amount of light that may escape your building and property lines.
    How concerned are you with LED light CRI rating in public walkway spaces?
    CRI will depend on your project location. In the States, specifically California, they’re starting to move towards a 90+ CRI rating for LEDs. If it’s not code-required, where art, retail, and food displays are apparent features, we prefer 90+ and 3000K for optimal color rendering and display. For concourses, 80+ achieves higher lumen outputs with lower wattage usage helping reduce energy usage and maintains appropriate light output for high-traffic areas. 
    What do you think about data transfer with light, LiFi?
    This is the first I am hearing about it to be honest. IOT is finally starting to roll out into more conversations on design – not yet LiFi. And it hasn’t come up in any design conversations with the stadiums – given all the security within the data communications and number of different transactions that take place, it certainly sounds like it would make for a complex and probably complicated system!  I will certainly read more into it and appreciate you bringing it up!