Lighting Project Earns GE Edison Award - Facility Executive Magazine - Creating Intelligent Buildings

The participants have been recognized for their work on lighting the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium (c.1927) in California.
The participants have been recognized for their work on lighting the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium (c.1927) in California.

Lighting Project Earns GE Edison Award

Lighting Project Earns GE Edison Award - Facility Executive Magazine - Creating Intelligent Buildings

For their work on lighting the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento, CA, James R. Benya of Benya Lighting Design (West Linn, OR), Michael Neils and Juan José Villatoro of M. Neils Engineering, Inc. (Sacramento, CA), and James E. Christensen of the City of Sacramento have received the 2008 GE Edison Award. On May 4, 2009, in New York City, GE Consumer & Industrial presented a personalized Steuben crystal award for the 26th annual lighting design competition. The GE Edison Award competition is open to those lighting professionals who creatively employ significant use of GE light sources (lamps and/or LEDs) in a lighting design project completed during the previous calendar year.

The Sacramento Memorial Civic Center has been operating since 1927.
The six main columns are uplit, with the luminaire on each carefully aimed to illuminate the capital, frieze, dentils and cornice.

The Sacramento Memorial Auditorium, opened in 1927, is listed on the National Historic Register and has been the home of concerts, inaugurals, commencements, and other civic events. Excavating the grounds to repair foundation walls provided an opportunity to improve site and building lighting. Because of its importance to the city and state, the design team was asked to develop a lighting design that is significantly better than California Title 24, while also respecting nighttime skies.

Design Approach

The project also earned an Award for Excellence in Environmental Design; a number of key design strategies qualified the project for that recognition. Light sources in the design are limited to two types: ceramic metal halide and 3000K linear fluorescent. Mockups determined the lowest practical wattage for the desired effects. The larger east and west façades are only partially illuminated, leaving extensive areas in artfully chosen shadow. Uplighting each main column with only one luminaire, and carefully aiming to also illuminate the capital, frieze, dentils and cornice, reduce power use in half from the original design concept. The elimination of some other proposed luminaires yields a design that betters California Title 24 limits by 22%. Site and plaza lighting comply with the requirements for LEED® Credit SS8 for lighting pollution reduction.

The lighting design features several GE ConstantColor® CMH® ceramic metal halide and GE T5 High Output Ecolux® fluorescent lamps. The six columns with ornate capitals and the two end pilasters are each uplighted with one 150-watt CMH® T6 3000K in-grade luminaire. The luminaire location is precisely in the second step so that the column, capital, frieze, and cornice are illuminated. Up washers with 54-watt T5 HO 3000K lamps illuminate the pediment wall, and the medallion is highlighted with a 70-watt CMH® narrow spot lamp.

In ceiling coves behind the arches, 70-watt CMH® down light wall washers illuminate the wall and doors. The down lights, installed in the same locations as prior luminaires, were approved by the historic commission. The front corners of the building are uplighted with 54-watt GE T5 HO luminaires supplemented by 70-watt CMH® luminaires for the limestone pilasters.

The massive brick building’s largest façades are the east and west. Each is comprised of a series of pilasters with rooflines sloping back. A continuous fluorescent 54-watt T5 HO wall wash luminaire between pilasters connects the composition around the building base. Pilasters are uplighted with asymmetric luminaires with 70-watt CMH® lamps for the middle level and 39-watt CMH® lamps for the top and bottom levels. Luminaire locations were limited by historic preservation requirements. Rather than flood the façade, a design creating a dramatic lantern effect on the top of each pilaster was chosen. Interior lighting for the skylight windows features fluorescent GE 32-watt T8 3000K lamps.

There are Romeo and Juliet balconies at each of the four main fire exits. Two 70-watt CMH® in-grade floodlights and a single 54-watt T5 HO 3000K up washer in each balcony highlight the balcony and brick wall. The lighting reveals an artful brick pattern not evident by daylight.

The lighting design also includes site poles that provide all plaza, street and walkway lighting for the building’s block. Luminaires are fully shielded and employ 150-watt CMH® lamps.

Judging And Other Recognized Projects

A panel of five judges selected this year’s winning entry for its superiority in the following categories: functional excellence; architectural compatibility; effective use of state-of-the-art lighting products and techniques; appropriate color, form and texture revelation; energy effectiveness and cost effectiveness. Judges for this 26th annual competition were: Naomi Miller, FIES, FIALD, LC, Naomi Miller Lighting Design, LLC; Pamela Miller, LC, LEED®AP, IES, FreemanWhite; Christian K. Monrad, P.E., LEED®AP, Monrad Engineering, Inc.;Derek Porter, IALD, IES, PLDA, Derek Porter Studio; and Omar A. Rivera, C.L.E.P. AEE, GE Consumer & Industrial, Lighting.

The winning project was one of four Awards of Excellence finalists. The other Awards of Excellence winners were: Jersey Boys Theatre at The Palazzo (Las Vegas, NV), designed by Martin van Koolbergen and Kristy Benner of Kaplan Gehring McCarroll Architectural Lighting, Inc. (Los Angeles, CA); Federal State Parliament (Vaduz, Princedom of Liechtenstein), designed by Edwin and Thomas Kausen of Licht Kunst Licht AG (Berlin, Germany); and US Bank Tower (Sacramento, CA), designed by Claudio Ramos, Hiram Banks and Erich Hendrickson of h. e. banks + associates Lighting Design (San Francisco, CA).

Additional award recipients are listed at

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