Knox’s primary driver was to find a maintenance-friendly solution with adequate output. Cree offers a bright future in that regard.
“Any kind of incandescent or halogen lights would last a year at the most,” Knox says. “And with a 30-foot ceiling, it would be very expensive and dangerous to climb up there every year or so to change lights.”
Fixed pews present a challenge to changing bulbs at such a height. “We could get a lift in to get to a lot of them,” Knox says. “But with the raked ceiling in the choir area, I’d have to build scaffolding, change one light, then move it; change another light, and move it again. It would have been a nightmare.”
With incandescents, he says, “if you have one or two bad bulbs and you have to go up that high, you might as well replace them all.
“From a maintenance standpoint, the Cree lights were just much more in our best interest. It’ll be eight or 10 years or more before I have to replace lights.”
Saving money was, of course, another consideration. Given that Knox had planned to install 250-watt halogens and the Cree® ESA Series luminaire draws 108 watts, he figures he’s saving more than half on utilities.
Yet another advantage of this solution is that Knox is using the house LEDs as emergency lighting as well.
“With the ability to dim, I was able to power the LEDs with an inverter and transfer switches, which eliminated the need for bug eye emergency light fixtures.” The sanctuary was initially designed to have 22 of those bug eyes around the walls and in the ceiling. “Other than being unsightly, the fixtures in the ceiling would also be a maintenance issue with replacing batteries.”
Knox is happy to tell all who ask that he’s gone all LED. “We’re really happy with it,” he says of the Cree solution. “It’s a very good distribution of light.”