Neighborhood complaints lead to Alpine Field LED light installation

Feb. 1, 2016

Hannah Harvey
[email protected]

New LED lights illuminate Alpine Field after complaints from neighbors in the Eagle Rock area were submitted to UCCS.

New LED lights look over the Alpine field on the north end of campus.  Rachel Deegan | The Scribe
New LED lights look over the Alpine field on the north end of campus.
Rachel Deegan | The Scribe

Residents expressed several complaints that the lights on the field created a glare that could be seen from their homes. Musco, a sports lighting manufacturer based in Iowa, created and installed the new, glare-reducing and energy-efficient LED fixtures that now light the field.

All of the lights on the field were replaced at a total cost of $182,969. According to a Musco press release, energy use at the field was cut by 53 percent.

Alpine Field is used for recreation and intramural sports. The original lighting design met criteria for light levels and evenness, but glare was not factored in.

“We verified that we would not be shining much light beyond the perimeter of the field. But we didn’t allow for the glare caused by the fixtures,” said Charles Cummings, design and construction project manager for Facilities Services.

Cummings took meter readings to measure the glare in the surrounding neighborhoods and found that the readings came back as zero, indicating there was no measurable light.

But this did not mean that the complaints were not valid.

“The human eye is so sensitive, that when you have a situation of extreme contrast, that when there is a bright object, your eye picks it out immediately,” said Cummings.

Problems with glare were a geometrical issue, said Cummings. The field is about 40 feet above the surrounding neighborhoods, with the lights being another 80 feet up. This meant the lights shone directly down into the neighboring houses.

Originally, the southeast light was the only one that was going to be considered for change. But, Musco noticed that light from the southwest pole was spilling over into the Alpine Village dorms, even though there were no student complaints.

Gary Reynolds, assistant vice chancellor for Administration, said that Musco replaced the lights over the course of a weekend. Two cranes were brought in to do the job: one was used to illuminate lights, while another was used to lift the crew to install them.

LED lights were not considered during the original 2012 construction of the field because of their high cost. In 2012, the cost to install LED lights on the field would have been around $450,000, according to Cummings.