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Airports Memphis International Airport

Memphis International Airport
improves lighting with "Illuminaires"

Architects when the terminal was constructed during the 1960s, continues into the lobby exteriors as an overhang visible through the floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Before the retrofit, the lobbies were illuminated with three different types of fixtures, all located inside triangular-shaped metal boxes installed on the face of each painted white column: 1) six 150-watt metal halide floodlights, three aimed up and three aimed down; 2) two 70-watt high-pressure sodium fixtures, one aimed up and one aimed down; and 3) two 100-watt high-pressure sodium fixtures, one aimed up and one aimed down.

Light levels in the lobbies ranged from 5 to 9 foot-candles.

“Lighting from the previous system became trapped inside the boxes and illuminated only the base of each column,” said Ginnie Myers, head of building electrical maintenance for Memphis International Airport. “In some areas, the light was so dim and depressing that some passengers had problems reading the information on their tickets and security personnel found it difficult to view the contents of passenger baggage. Maintenance was a nightmare because of the number of different fixtures installed.”

Because authorities were so concerned about aesthetics within the lobbies, compact Egg-shaped Illuminaire® fixtures from Holophane were installed on a test basis. The spherical-shaped Egg Illuminaire units include prismatic borosilicate glass reflectors/refractors that complement the architecture in the lobbies while providing precise light control. The glass pieces smoothly transition together for a fresh and finished look.

Based on the fixtures’ performance—including light levels recorded during the test—the airport installed 104 Egg-shaped Illuminaire fixtures with 100-watt metal halide lamps, placing four units on each column. Luminaires are mounted on arched arms bolted to specially constructed cans, which in turn are bolted to the columns. Each can contains the wiring for the Illuminaire fixture and three 23-watt energy-saving floodlight fluorescent fixtures, each providing the equivalent of 100 watts, par 38 output at 960 lumens. The fixtures provide enough uplight to emphasize the wine glass and column architecture. The luminaire ballast is housed in the arched arm

Luminaire mounting height is 26 ½ feet on the full columns and 16 feet on the half columns located on the glass-fronted mezzanines used as observation decks. Spacing is 30 feet center-to-center or about 42 feet on the diagonal.

Since the Illuminaire units were installed, light levels in the ticket lobbies have increased to 25 footcandles. The Type 50 fixtures provide 40 percent uplight to help showcase the ceiling architecture, with 60 percent downlight to increase the visibility on the floor.

“The lighting looks wonderful,” said Myers. “It has updated the appearance of these high traffic areas and improved the mood of the people who work there or get their tickets and check their luggage. Using the Illuminaire fixtures allowed us to preserve the architectural integrity of the lobbies while keeping the project within budget and significantly reducing energy costs.”

The Illuminaire fixtures are controlled by a programmable system that turns off and on at the appropriate time, with a manual override. The airport plans to implement a preventive maintenance program, which will include cleaning and re-lamping the lighting fixtures on a regular basis.


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