New lights installed in Michigan State University’s Munn Ice Arena will provide a better game experience for hockey fans while significantly cutting the university’s energy bill.
The new lights, installed over the summer, are part of a major renovation project on the arena where the MSU hockey team plays. Other ongoing upgrades include replacing the arena’s ice-making process, as well as a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
With the installation, Munn becomes one of the first ice rinks in the United States to be equipped with the light-emitting diode, or LED, lights.
“Fans will notice an amazing difference in light quality,” said Greg Ianni, deputy director of MSU Athletics. “And it’s a bright, clean light. Not yellow. It’s like opening a retractable roof.”
He said the colors are more vivid and a fan can better see the faces of the players.
“It magnifies the ability to see what’s going on,” Ianni said. “And goalies say they can see the puck a lot better.”
The lights will use about one-fifth of the energy currently being used.
Another way it saves energy: Because the LED lights produce little or no direct heat, the ice-making process doesn’t have to work as hard.
“We lessened the heat load,” said Jeff Bonk, a project manager in MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities, “so we could better fit the new ice system to the building, conserving energy.”
Bonk said before the new lights were installed the university was considering increasing the size of the arena’s electrical substation to compensate.
One other advantage: Because the lights are LED, they can switch on and off instantly, rather than having to warm up once they’re off.
The price tag to install the new lights was about $575,000. Ianni and Bonk said they expect it to pay for itself in about five to seven years.
“Another plus is the lamps don’t need to be replaced as often,” Ianni said. “Their life expectancy is about 10 years or 100,000 hours.”
The lights were installed by the Musco Co., which also provides the outdoor lighting for night football games at MSU’s Spartan Stadium.
The Munn lights will get its first use at this year’s Green and White Game, set for 5 p.m. Saturday.