By: Guy Copans
4th May 2007
Schutte contends that lighting of sports stadiums is not viewed regularly enough as an essential part of a sports stadium’s structure, and is handled as an afterthought. He says that this results in complete electrical lighting systems, or luminaires, being installed in the closing stages of a sports stadium’s budget, when financial considerations are more restrictive. Cheaper and less effective luminaires then have to be bought. This situation is unnecessary, he comments, as lighting represents a small percentage of a stadium’s overall budget. It also represents only 3% or 4% of the overall budget for luminaires, for International Federation of Association Football-(Fifa-) specification stadiums.
Schutte attributes the lack of emphasis sometimes placed on sports lighting to ignorance of the science involved in sports lighting. He asserts that the larger sports stadiums employ consultants that are more experienced in sports lighting, and understand the requirement of having excellent lighting for a sports stadium.
Lighting in sports stadiums adds value by making the stadiums more multifunctional, says Schutte. Sports stadiums have 24-hour use with good lighting, which increases the revenue of the stadium while simultaneously adding to the recoup value, he explains. It also opens the door for these stadiums to be more multifunctional, and to be used for events such as music concerts, adds Schutte.
Many rugby and cricket grounds in South Africa, such as Loftus, Ellis Park, Newlands cricket and rugby stadiums, Sahara stadium Kingsmead, Absa stadium, and Supersport Park, use lighting from Philips, says Schutte. He adds that Philips will strive to procure lighting contracts for the stadiums being used in the 2010 soccer World Cup, and that it has already done lighting for soccer training grounds, such as Dobsonville and the University of Pretoria, and is currently lighting Rand stadium.
Schutte regards the relighting of Supersport Park last year by Philips Lighting as one of its most successful projects. In this project, Super-sport Park’s lighting was upgraded to include the latest lighting technology from Philips Lighting, and consequently, the lighting levels for day/night cricket matches have increased considerably.
After initial installation of lighting, the responsibility for maintaining sports stadiums’ lights rests with the management of the stadium. Philips Lighting has an agreement with the sports stadiums, however, that the state of the lighting installation will be assessed every six years, and the company will also provide a recommendation on what needs to be fixed or replaced. During this process, the company will record how long every lamp has been used. When any lighting at a sports stadium needs to be replaced, Philips Lighting recommends group lamp replacement, as replacing only one or two lamps can lead to uneven light distribution in the stadium, says Schutte.
Philips Lighting works closely with architects of sports stadiums to ensure that light fittings are applied correctly, says Schutte. He comments that Philips carries out continual research and development to increase the output of lamps and the efficiency of luminaires. This is necessary to constantly meet the requirements and standards of new technological innovations, such as high-definition television, and these innovations help Philips Lighting stay ahead of the pack, he adds.
“Continuously, we are upgrading our product. We try to design luminaires specifically to increase the vertical lumination, and by doing so, it gives us an edge on our competitors.”
Further illustrating Philips Lighting’s efficiency and effecti-veness, Schutte says that the efficiency and the small diameter of its luminaires results in lighter supporting structures owing to the low drag factor, and additional benefits in smaller cable sizes and reticulation, smaller electrical distribution board specifications, reduced loading to stadiums and reduced generator specifications.
Looking ahead, Schutte considers resources to be the largest challenge facing Philips Lighting. He sees the Fifa 2010 World Cup as a considerable opportunity for the company. He cautions, however, that there may be a lull in sports lighting after the completion of the World Cup.
In addition to sports stadium lighting, Philips Lighting does work in other areas, such as road lighting and indoor projects for buildings and sports halls.
Philips was the provider of lighting for 8 out of the 12 stadiums that were used at the 2006 Fifa World Cup, in Germany, as well the main supplier for the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Edited by: Laura Tyrer