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Sports Northern Michigan Univ. Hockey

Prismatic lighting showcases
Northern Michigan University sports

Northern Michigan University hockey fans are serious about their sport. When the University constructed its new 3,800-seat hockey and basketball facility, the Berry Events Center, the lighting system was designed as much for the spectators as for the players.

“Hockey is a very quick-action, fast-paced sport. Good lighting is essential for both the spectators and the players because of the speed of play and the potential for injury. The Berry Events Center also serves as a show piece for the University when coaches are trying to recruit high caliber players,” said Mark Lessard, associate for electrical design and engineering, Integrated Designs, Inc., Marquette, Michigan.

Spectators enter the arena at the concourse level and walk down to their seats and the playing floor/ice sheet. When the lighting system was designed for the 70,000-square-foot facility, the objective was to meet IES recommendations for NCAA Division I hockey and Division II basketball. IES guidelines for hockey are 100 horizontal footcandles and 75 vertical footcandles. Recommendations for basketball are 100 horizontal footcandles and 125 vertical footcandles.

According to Lessard, another goal was to provide an element of uplight so the area above the ice sheet would stand out. Since no lights are installed over the seating bowl, the designer wanted to create an open visual environment that would promote a feeling of safety.

The lighting system installed above the 100’ x 200’ playing floor/ice sheet is a combination of Holophane Prismalume® luminaires, mounted directly over the floor, and Holophane Prismbeam® floodlights, installed so they flank the area of play. Fixtures are attached to a trapeze suspended from the trusses on the metal corrugated steel ceiling. A total of 132 Prismalume luminaires are used, mounted 36 feet above the floor. The fixtures are installed in nine rows, grouped two-two-two-one-one-two-two-two.

“The luminaires are grouped together to enhance the vertical illumination along the side walls. The quantity of fixtures drops off in the middle because the light has an additive effect,” Lessard said.

Ten Prismbeam floodlights are installed on each side of the floor, mounted five per side. The fixtures, which are spaced 33 apart, are illuminated during the basketball games to boost the vertical footcandles. Both the Prismalume and Prismbeam fixtures use 400-watt pulse start metal halide lamps.

Most metal halide lamps require up to 20 minutes to come up to full power. The pulse start lamps, in comparison, require only three minutes. The pulse start metal halide lamps give the University the opportunity to introduce the players in the dark—with the house lights off—using only a spotlight. They also provide superior color rendering and higher lumens per watt.

Illumination levels above the playing floor exceed 100 horizontal footcandles and 125 vertical footcandles. The Prismalume fixtures include a non-deteriorating borosilicate glass reflector that is not affected by temperature changes so the light levels remain constant.

Holophane’s Computer Aided Lighting Analysis (CALA) software was used during the design phase of the project. CALA allowed the designer to experiment with fixture spacing and grouping to reach the desired light levels. Once the design was completed, the information was transmitted from CALA into the engineer’s AutoCAD.

Outside the arena, both the lobby and concourse are illuminated with Holophane PrismGlo® luminaires with 400-watt pulse start metal halide lamps. The PrismGlo fixtures were selected because of their ability to provide comfortable, uniform illumination at a relatively low mounting height—15 feet. The fixtures, coincidentally, are shaped like a hockey puck and complement the hockey motif.

“The concourse is the only way for the public to enter and exit the building, so many people travel through this area. The PrismGlo fixtures are aesthetically pleasing and provide the illumination levels needed without detracting from the lighting above the playing floor,” Lessard said.

The PrismGlo fixtures are spaced 40 feet on center. Illumination levels in the concourse are 20 footcandles. Four-foot SS Series single-lamp, focus beam specular fluorescent fixtures from Holophane-owned MetalOptics Corporation are used for emergency lighting in the arena, the concourse and the lobby. The fluorescent units use T-8 lamps and deliver a very narrow punch of light. Lessard indicated that using the specular technology allowed him to reduce the number of lamps required while still meeting state codes for emergency illumination. The technology also enabled the University to reduce the size of its generator.

Lighting fixtures in the arena and the concourse are illuminated 70 to 80 hours per week, and are turned on and off by a microprocessor-based control system. The Berry Events Center is used not only for hockey and basketball competition, but for general skating.

Northern Michigan University maintenance personnel are responsible for cleaning and group relamping the fixtures. Because Holophane supplies all of the luminaires, the University benefits from a commonality of parts, which also reduces maintenance costs.


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