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Friday, May 30 • 4:30pm - 4:45pm
(Case Studies in Sustainable Collection Care Session) The role of LED lighting in an energy-efficient museum

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Solid-state lighting (SSL) has quickly evolved over the past decade into a competitive alternative to conventional incandescent lamps, by providing comparable lumen output at higher efficiency. In addition, life cycle assessments (LCA) performed by independent sources, manufacturers, and the U.S. Department of Energy indicate that the total environmental impact of LED bulbs from manufacture to recycling after end-use is significantly lower. Energy use over the life-cycle of an LED is estimated at 3-4 times less than that of an equivalent number of halogen bulbs, and currently similar to compact fluorescent (CFL). The energy savings and reduced overall toxicity offered by SSL technology is extremely attractive for a socially conscious museum striving to minimise environmental impact, while caring for their collection. Reducing energy consumption is also necessary for institutions aiming for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification through new building construction or retrofit projects. In addition to focusing on energy savings, it is important to carefully compare the performance specifications given by manufacturers with the strict lighting requirements in a museum environment.

The need for high colour quality in museums and galleries inhibited the early adoption of LED bulbs; however, products have recently emerged with visible spectra that closely match incandescent lamps without emitting ultra-violet or infrared energy. The combination of exceptional light quality, lower electrical load, and recent incentives to curb energy consumption has made the transition to LED lighting a benefit for many institutions. For others, the switch to SSL technology has been less rewarding due to the high capital cost and lower than expected performance observed for some products: rapidly diminishing intensity, colour shift, flickering, and general hardware incompatibilities. Many of these negative qualities are avoidable through careful product selection, and proper implementation of SSL; however, the true long-term performance of even the best LED bulbs remains uncertain. The longevity of LEDs will become clearer in the following years as institutions begin to observe lamp performance over a time-scale longer than that currently used for bulb life predictions.

A review of the current state of LED lighting is provided in the context of the needs and expectations of museums. Specifications related to colour quality, light intensity and lamp life, are discussed with respect to manufacturer warranties and third party testing.

Session Moderator(s)
avatar for Sarah Nunberg

Sarah Nunberg

Conservator, The Objects Conservation Studio, LLC
Sarah Nunberg, principal of The Objects Conservation Studio, LLC, has been working as a conservator since 1989. She specializes in conservation of archaeological, ethnographic, decorative and contemporary art, treating objects made of wood, ceramic, stone, metal, glass, skin, leather... Read More →

avatar for Eric Hagan

Eric Hagan

Senior Conservation Scientist, Canadian Conservation Institute
Eric Hagan earned a PhD in mechanical engineering from Imperial College London through a doctoral fellowship at Tate (2005-2009), after completing the Master of Art Conservation program at Queen’s University (2004). He has worked at the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) since... Read More →

Friday May 30, 2014 4:30pm - 4:45pm PDT
Grand Ballroom A