LEDs Power Milwaukee School of Engineering Field

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) athletes have seen their facilities undergo major renovations and upgrades in recent years. The school completed the new Pamela and Herman Viets Field in 2013, and thanks to a number of sustainable systems and design techniques, the field is now showing considerable energy efficiency and savings.

Located in the heart of Milwaukee’s downtown area, sustainability efforts and spatial constraints led the design team to place the $30 million, state-of-the-art Viets Field atop a 780-car, in-ground parking structure. The three-level parking structure reduced local asphalt surface parking lots by 6.9 acres.

Additional green goals resulted in the use of 100 percent LED lighting, making Viets Field one of the first in the country to use the energy-saving technology exclusively. Cree, an industry leader in LED lighting technology, supplied all lighting fixtures.

“We recognize that LED is the future of lighting and are committed to changing to LED campus-wide,” said Scott Ramlow, partner at project architect with Uihlein/Wilson Architects of Milwaukee and architect for Milwaukee School of Engineering, in a statement. “Cree was on the forefront of the technology we wanted, and brought to the table a series of products that best fit our needs.”

To maximize light distribution across Viets Field, MSOE installed Cree EdgeTM High Output Area fixtures on 70-foot poles across the field, according to a statement by the company. The luminaires also have the added benefit of delivering significant reductions in energy and maintenance costs while still providing high color quality.

“The light quality is much better than any other field I’ve seen before,” said Jon Jansen, project executive with the Brookfield, Wis.-based contractor Hunzinger Construction Company, in a statement. “When you’re watching people on the field, it’s much clearer and brighter.”

In addition to the outdoor lighting, Cree 304 SeriesTM parking structure LED luminaires were installed in the parking deck underneath the field, providing improved illumination while significantly reducing energy and maintenance costs, according to the company. Additional Cree LED luminaire models were installed throughout.

Constructing such a large facility in an urban environment, MSOE — an independent, non-profit university with a student population of roughly 2,600 — as well as the design and construction teams encountered some unique challenges.

“Whenever you design such a large structure in a downtown, urban setting, there is a complicated set of rules you have to follow,” Ramlow said in a statement. “We had to be very particular about photometrics and had restrictions from the city in terms of light spill, glare and light pollution. The spread and control of the light that we found with the Cree LED fixtures were much better than traditional lighting options.”

MSOE prioritized both energy usage and maintenance savings when evaluating its lighting choices for the 10,000-plus-square-foot athletic facility, according to Cree. By using 100 percent LED lighting, the university was able to reduce energy costs and consumption — in the parking deck alone, the university anticipates seeing energy usage savings of 200,000 kW-h annually — while also saving time and money earmarked for maintenance needs.

“The maintenance savings we anticipate will be a huge benefit to us,” said Tom Barsokine, director of facilities at MSOE, in a statement. “With 70-foot-high field lights, the savings from not having to get up that high to change bulbs will be a major plus. We can reduce the amount of equipment we needed to access the lighting to change the bulbs, since they don’t require nearly as much maintenance as other lighting options.”