DOE Releases GATEWAY Report on Museum LED Retrofit Lighting

March 26, 2012

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has published the final evaluation report from a retrofit of track lighting used to illuminate a special photography exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, California. During the demonstration, 12W LED PAR 38 lamps replaced 60W halogen PAR 38 30° flood lamps on a one-for-one basis across three adjacent gallery spaces. This GATEWAY demonstration report describes the process for the demonstration and provides potential energy savings and economic results. The report, co-authored with Senior Scientist Jim Druzik of the Getty Conservation Institute, also includes research findings about the photodegradation potential of LEDs compared to UV/IR filtered halogen lamps.

Key findings include:

  • In the three gallery spaces, a total of 34 track heads lamped with the LED lamps would use 920 kWh per year compared to 5410 kWh for the comparable halogen lighting system, representing a savings of 83 percent. At a melded electrical rate of $0.12/kWh, this translates to a savings of $540 per year for the museum.
  • In a 10-year life-cycle cost analysis, at the melded electrical rate of $0.12/kWh, the total present value (PV) energy savings amount to $4,621, with a total PV life-cycle cost savings of $9,843 including maintenance. At this electricity cost, simple payback occurs at 2.3 years of operation
  • During the PAR 38 lamp comparison, museum staff responded favorably to the visual results, and although there was no effort to inform the viewing public about the LED use, there also was no reaction, positive or negative, from visitors about the lighting. The museum plans to continue to use LEDs in exhibits where they produce desired visual results.
  • Accelerated fading tests on a variety of sensitive museum materials showed that warm-color white LED lamps produce no worse deterioration than filtered halogen lamps at equivalent lux-hours of exposure. However, it is always important to consult with conservators and curators on unique or especially critical museum materials.

For more details, view the full report. This lighting demonstration is one of many DOE GATEWAY demonstrations that showcase high-performance LED products for general illumination. Learn more about the DOE GATEWAY demonstration program.