Candela Controls, Inc., of Winter Garden, Florida, has recently completed the first installation in the United States, of a completely controllable and dimmable LED, church house light system. The sanctuary of Calvary Chapel Melbourne’s Viera Campus, is now being illuminated by 80 white light, LED’s that are fully dimmable through a DMX control system designed, installed, configured and programmed by Candela Controls, Inc. Calvary Chapel is a single congregation that worships in multiple remote locations and they rely heavily on a video feed for a major portion of their services. The fixture, an LED house light model DL-1500, was developed in a partnership with Affineon Lighting of Coral Springs.
Calvary Chapel turned to Candela for their church lighting system design and integration expertise, and they were rewarded by being offered this new and better alternative. Additionally, the timing on the project was perfect as Candela was brought in to meet with the architects and engineers during the design phase, so there was time to make adjustments to the lighting plan, and keep costs for the system low. Once Candela had learned of the very limited power restrictions that Calvary Chapel’s architect was dealing with, they knew that the new DL fixture was the only option for providing the church with near perfect color house lighting, while still meeting, and even exceeding, these stringent foot-candle code requirements.
The code limit itself was only 1.8 watts (or less) per square foot and with a requirement for video compatible lighting that can be controlled, Calvary Chapel found itself in quite a dilemma. To add insult to injury, the common solution that was offered by everyone else was a variation of a hybrid house light system consisting of a combination of dimmable fluorescent lights and dimmable incandescent down lights. The Calvary Chapel production staff knew a hybrid system would most certainly have a serious impact on their worship, on their video feed, and on the overall experience of the congregation. The staff had concerns that this type of system would have many shortcomings such as; a less than desirable blend of color temperatures, a very choppy dimming curve, increased maintenance costs, incompatible styles of fixtures, and achieving an adequate coverage of light with the required fixture placement. Since the video image is such an integral portion of the distributed church model, the color temperature and the dimming properties of the system were two of the top priorities for Calvary’s video production staff. In the case of the DL-1500 fixture, a specific color temperature is selected when the fixtures are ordered. The color temperature of the fixtures used for Calvary Chapel is 3500 degrees Kelvin. Each fixture is individually addressed and dimmable to zero, exactly matching a tungsten dimming curve.
When Viera Campus Pastor, Dean Corns was asked how he felt about the use of this new technology, he said “When we learned of the opportunity to spend less over the years to come, it only made sense from a stewardship point to go with LEDs.” Just like Pastor Dean, everyone knows by now, the many benefits of an LED lighting fixtures such as consuming significantly less power than traditional incandescent lighting and a much longer life span, but often overlooked are the fact that they produce far less heat then traditional bulbs and they maintain their color temperature while dimming. “The money that we save can be used to invest in the lives of people around the world, and I can get very excited about that!” Pastor Dean added. He’ll be even more excited as he realizes that spending less goes beyond the power costs too; lamp replacement, labor expense and cooling costs are some of the additional savings they will have to dedicate to their cause. Additionally, early feedback from Pastor Dean indicated that the lighting is fantastic and this is the first time he can see his congregation.
As we head into 2010 and beyond, many churches and auditoriums will be affected by electrical codes that limit energy consumption for house light systems. In this particular case, the limit was 1.8 watts per square foot for a 1200 seat sanctuary, but using the DL fixture, we were able to deliver the required foot candle level using 1.5 watts per square foot, and still maintain quality lighting for worship and video production. This LED light engine will have a tremendous impact on the future of lighting, with the breakthrough of a true white DMX dimmable house light, the LED has moved from a color effect fixture to a viable architectural house light fixture. If your church is considering a construction project, a remodel, becoming more “green”, or just need to replace old fixtures and dimming, give us a call at the first stage of the project. This will result in not only saving a lot of money over time, but will help you save it right from the start.