Following is a text version of a video about the GATEWAY demonstration project at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
James Brodrick, Lighting Program Manager, U.S. Department of Energy: Market support efforts that the Department funds can be visualized as the guardrails. We have a lot of activities that involve education, testing of products on the market, field demonstrations. So, the DOE programs are meant to monitor what's going on in the market, provide objective data, and help people make better decisions.
GATEWAY Demonstrations: The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.
Scott Rosenfeld, Lighting Designer, Smithsonian American Art Museum: We started off with an incandescent lighting system. We had just bought new fixtures about six or seven years ago, and we were very pleased with our incandescent lighting, track fixtures, a whole variety of beam spreads and ways to manipulate the light.
Our goal was to take LED retrofit lamps and use them like our incandescents, and use them with all the same parameters and all the same qualities, and we succeeded in that. We got lamps that were good color, that had the right distribution of spotlight to floodlight, down as small as four degrees and as wide as 40 degrees. And then to add all the accessories from our legacy incandescent system.
When I first started testing, the lamps that I was testing were pretty good, and they were similar lamp to lamp to lamp, all the colors were the same. And the color quality, the color rendering was pretty good. The problem that I had when I first started was that I wasn't getting the warmest of the colors. 3000K, there were some great choices, but not at 2700K, which is really very warm, but that's what the director of my museum and my curators were asking for.
Unexpected Challenges: Color Shift
Scott Rosenfeld, Lighting Designer, Smithsonian American Art Museum: We actually had sent them off for photometric testing as part of the GATEWAY test. So, I took a light bulb out and put a new light bulb in, and a couple weeks later, my assistant and I noticed that half of one painting was a little bit blue and half was a little bit yellow. That's how we discovered that color change was a real problem.
They're changing. They're changing a lot. We've had to pull multiple lamps out, we've not been able to maintain the quality of our exhibits because the LEDs have gotten too yellow to keep on view. As a group, most of the lamps have been changing at the same rate, or at least each LED type. Within one gallery will have three manufacturers or types of LEDs. Each type is changing at the same rate; at the very least three or four steps of change after 4, 5, 6,000 hours, as many as seventeen steps of change at 10,000 hours.
Lesson Learned: Some replacement lamps require air circulation to move heat away from the LED components.
Scott Rosenfeld, Lighting Designer, Smithsonian American Art Museum: Anything we can do to cool off the fixtures is better. By building fixtures with ventilation features, that would dramatically improve color consistency over time, lumen maintenance over time. But we need to get some air transferring across those LEDs to keep them cool, to maintain the quality of light.
The Lighting Designer's Wish List: What is Still Needed?
Scott Rosenfeld, Lighting Designer, Smithsonian American Art Museum: About two-thirds of the fixture in my museum are PAR36 AR111 12V fixtures. Right now, there's no good lamp on the market that will fit into the fixtures. There's a few AR111s, unfortunately the form factor is a little bit large so I can't even begin to use them, so AR111s would be incredibly helpful. MR16s were the most difficult lamp to replace, and we actually didn't succeed in getting an MR16 in our GATEWAY demonstration because the products flickered, and I'm very concerned about putting any product that flickers in my museum.
Outcomes of the GATEWAY Demonstration at the Smithsonian American Art Museum
Scott Rosenfeld, Lighting Designer, Smithsonian American Art Museum: We are right in the middle of the story, so ideally I think it takes about two years to get payback, and we'll likely make the payback, which would be 8 or 9,000 hours or so, 12,000 hours for sure, we would be quite pleased.
I think the project was an enormous success. There are challenges, it's an adventure, but it's been a success because incandescent lighting is so inefficient. This has been an incredible learning journey, so as LED technology gets better, we're really ready to deploy it in the most sophisticated way possible.