LEDs light US icons

The Statue of Liberty and the four giant faces of Mount Rushmore are illuminated by LEDs, thanks to Iowa-based Musco Lighting, the same company behind LED floodlights at Twickenham stadium, the home of rugby.

Musco Statue of Liberty - LEDs light US icons

Musco got involved with the Statue of Liberty late in 2012 following Hurricane Sandy when it installed a temporary LED lighting system to keep the statue lit. Now it has fitted a permanent set-up which “will provide twice the brightness level while reducing energy consumption by 62% when compared to the prior metal halide lights,” said Musco.

The link between Musco and iconic US monuments appears to be more than just marketing.

According to company president Joe Crookham, he was attending a board meeting of the US National Parks Foundation in Washington DC, of which he had been a member since 2001, and happened to pass Washington Monument – a giant (170m tall) obelisk close to the White House.

“It was really not well lit at all, so I mentioned to the director that we would be willing to donate a lighting system,” said Crookham.

Musco Mount Rushmore - LEDs light US iconsSoon after this Laura Bush, also on the committee at the time, asked him to take a look at the White House – which is now lit by Musco LEDs.

This was the start of a relationship with the Park Service that has involved both lighting monuments run by the service, and together developing environmentally-sensitive lighting standards.

The Statue of Liberty system is designed “to highlight all the aesthetic details of the monument while reducing the amount of light projected into the night sky”, said Musco.

Lighting the four presidential heads of Mount Rushmore presented similar challenges – get just the right amount of shadow everywhere on the faces while minimising sky-glow, with the added challenges that the luminaires needed to be 300m from the faces and shouldn’t light the intervening ground which is supposed to be for wildlife.

Using a 3D model, the situation was simulated and custom 60W narrow-beam luminaires were made, each with 20 LEDs.

Musco Mount Rushmore fixture

Custom LED luminaires at Mount Rushmore

Musco is claiming a 90% reduction in consumption for the installation and, according to the Park Service, individual faces amongst the four can be illuminated during presentations.

The firm’s core business is lighting sports venues.

Not only has it lit Twickenham, but also Arsenal Football Club’s Emirates Stadium.

At Arsenal Musco is claiming to have increased light levels by 32% while saving 30% energy consumption compared with the previous installation using 2kW metal halide lights. “Additionally, the characteristics of the LED light source provide instant on/off capabilities for special effects, and eliminate the flicker effect for slow motion replay,” it said.

Musco Newport docksOn the industrial front, Associated British Ports employed Musco to light Newport Docks in South Wales.

“Maintenance of the high-pressure sodium lighting was costly and time-consuming,” said Musco, claiming 81% energy savings it was were replaced with LEDs.

The change in technology meant installation could be via fixed mounting brackets, allowing existing raise-and-lower rings to be removed, along with the annual need to inspect such rings.

Remote electrical enclosures were mounted on the lower part of the poles for improved serviceability.

Dimming is included as, “while the port will often operate 24/7, it only requires higher light levels for one hour each night”, said Musco. 

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