BRIGHTee award for the Tucson International Airport


The Airport Authority commissioned a complete replacement of all legacy outdoor lighting with LED. In consideration of nearby observatories, fully shielded 3000K were made standard. The appearance and uniformity improvements are immediately obvious in this image during installation that shows the new LED lighting adjacent to legacy high pressure sodium that is slated for removal.

Legacy HPS lighting in main parking lots was replaced with LED luminaires operating at approximately 1/3 of the watts. Reduced luminaire weight added 15 years to expected pole life. While average parking lot light levels were reduced, minimum light levels increased and uniformity improved to nearly 2:1 in most large lots. Dimming further reduces energy use after midnight when lot usage is reduced.

Metal halide parking garage luminaires were replaced with 3500K LED luminaires. The resulting installation meets IES RP-20-2014 requirements for vertical illumination and uniformity ratios.

The color rendering of the new lighting was observed to make cars more appealing. Uniformity improvements were attributed to positive comments about security from rental car company staff.

Existing HPS lighting for commercial aircraft ramps were also replaced with 3000K LED, mounted to existing poles.

Uniformity of ramp lighting is 25 lux, average., within 8:1 max:min within the aircraft service area. Compared to the remaining HPS in the background, the improvement in visibility on the ramp was cited by ramp workers and TAA staff.

The total capital cost of the entire outdoor lighting program was $809,000. The Airport Authority expects to save $151,000 per year in energy, and was granted a $151,000 incentive from Tucson Electric Power.

In addition to energy savings, the Airport Authority estimates annual maintenance savings of $100,000, resulting in a simple payback of 2.6 years and a $250,000 per annum annuity after that. Considering the significant improvements in energy efficiency, light quality and uniformity, and overall appearance, the utility company recognized this project as the large commercial project of the year.

Photo taken from Magee and First Avenue, 16 miles from Tucson International Airport. Note that the existing floodlights have disappeared from view and the new LED lighting is nearly invisible.