TV Station Lights Newsroom with LEDs

Broadcast Engineering reports that WPEC-TV achieved a considerable reduction in energy consumption by lighting its two HD news sets with LEDs.

"Before removing their existing tungsten light fixtures, director of engineering Paul Russell and his staff measured the total electrical power at 52kW. Once the Litepanels fixtures were installed, the studio lighting draw became 3kW with the studio fully lit. (The decrease in air-conditioning needs resulted in an additional 50 percent savings in energy costs.)...Another factor with LED light fixtures is the expected...diode life. High-wattage tungsten bulbs are good for about 250 hours; LEDs are expected to be good for at least 50,000 hours. Therefore, if the studio is lit 10 hours a day, the LEDs will last well more than 10 years."

The 50% additional energy savings from air conditioning suggests that traditional studio lighting has a PUE of ~1.5., although it may be lower in cooler climates than WPEC's Florida location. LED units were supplied by Litepanels, which will receive this year the first Technology & Engineering Emmy® Award for lighting.

By comparison, I estimate that WPEC's transmitter consumes ~6kW 24/7.

Learn more about broadcasters' energy consumption.

Alternative color-balanced studio lighting is fluorescent, supplied by companies such as Videssence. John Luff explains in Broadcast Engineering:

"Next to high-power transmitters, light has historically been the most voracious user of energy in a TV operation...the NAB Engineering Handbook still recommends 55W [per sq. ft.*], in any event a consequential amount of power to which one must add the power that HVAC systems contribute...Lighting system technology took a large step toward improved energy efficiency when compact fluorescent studio lighting was introduced in 1981. Traditional incandescent lighting consumes up to 90 percent more power for equivalent light output. Heat generated is proportionally lower as well. There is no free lunch, of course. Dimming fluorescents requires special dimmers and, unlike point source lights like Fresnels and other focusable fixtures, they offer different artistic results. You would be hard pressed to light a TV drama with fluorescents, but a TV news set can be illuminated by mostly, or all, low-energy fixtures...A second benefit is the exceptionally long life of at least 8000 hours. The net effect is a huge economic advantage in operating cost when all factors are considered."


* A 400 m2 studio would require 220,000 watts of lighting if lit by incandescent to National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) recommendations. An alternative form of specification (e.g., lumens) will be needed as more studios mix incandescent, flourescent, and LED. [footnote mine, not Mr. Luff's]