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Denison University

Denison lights up for championship play

With four full-size championship tennis courts in its new 81,418 square-foot field house, Denison University officials wanted a uniform 100 footcandles of illumination on each court. The specifications, however, stipulated that no lighting fixtures could be located directly over the courts.

"When players served the ball, officials did not want them to look up into a light fixture, which could be very distracting," explained Reece Prather, executive vice president and chief electrical engineer for Larsen Engineering, Inc., Columbus, Ohio.

The solution was to install Holophane Prismalume® prismatic glass luminaires with 1,000-watt metal halide lamps between the courts (which are side by side) and on the ends. Holophane's Computer Aided Lighting Analysis (CALA) software was used to determine fixture location.

"We started with an educated guess as far as placement was concerned, based on the structure's layout, and moved fixtures as needed. Units on the ends are installed six to 10 feet behind each court," Prather said.

Because Denison is very energy-minded, the lighting system was designed so the light levels can be varied. Not only is the field house used for championship tennis, but for recreational tennis and physical education classes. The system was therefore planned for 50 footcandles over the courts during regular operation, with 50 percent of the fixtures lighted. A master override at the control station allows for 100 percent of the fixtures to be turned on when needed.

The fixtures for the tennis courts also have motion detectors so that when there is no movement on the courts, after 10 to 15 minutes, the lighting system will automatically switch off.

In the area outside the tennis courts, which includes an indoor track, Prismalume units with 400 watt metal halide lamps are used, installed on 11-foot centers. Fixtures are located on each side of the trusses, which are spaced at 22 feet. Each fixture is mounted on a stem so that the bottom of the unit is even with the truss. Mounting height is 30 feet or more.

The Prismalume units provide 20 percent uplight to illuminate the painted white vaulted structure and perforated metal roof deck which forms the ceiling.

"We felt we needed to have a certain degree of uplight so that we were not creating a black ceiling, which would have detracted form the building's appearance," described Prather. "This was especially important above the playing area, where the roof is arched. Uplight gives the impression that the ceiling is lit, which helps us avoid that cavernous feeling."

Prather indicated that Larsen Engineering has standardized on Holophane Prismalume fixtures for athletic facilities.
"Our decision was based on both appearance and performance. The Holophane units provide the desired footcandle levels on the floor while allowing for uniform spacing. We also like the pleasing look of the glass reflector, particularly when the fixture is on," Prather said.  
The Denison field house lighting system includes meters on the contactors that control the fixtures. The system is designed so that the fixtures are lighted alternately. For example, if players are using court No. 1 for recreational play, one half of the fixtures in that area will be illuminated. The next time the court is utilized, the other half of the fixtures will be lighted so that the lamps age uniformly.

"Staff comments about the lighting have been very positive, particularly from personnel at the physical plant," Prather concluded. "The Prismalume fixtures do the job without costing excessively from an energy standpoint."


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