SALT LAKE CITY — Players, umpires and fans will see Salt Lake Bees' games in a whole new light this season after a major overhaul of the lighting system at Smith's Ballpark.
This week, Salt Lake City began installing a state-of-the-art, light-emitting diode system aimed at enhancing the viewing experience for fans in the stands and players on the field at the city-owned venue.
The city is investing $630,000 to replace 342 metal halide lamps with 168 new LED bulbs. The change will lower electricity consumption and is expected to eliminate lighting maintenance costs. The new lights minimize glare and noise and illuminate better than the old lamps, according to Marc Amicone, Bees president and general manager.
"The new lighting is brighter (as well as) immediate on and off," he said. "They are also much more energy-efficient."
He noted the previous system was installed 25 years ago and had exceeded its expected life span, which caused some lights to suddenly turn off in the middle of games. He said upgrades like this have been implemented at several baseball stadiums across the country and are becoming the standard in lighting.
“We’ll be able to brighten the field faster and more directionally, which will help reduce light pollution,” Amicone said. “This new system even has special effects so we can enhance the fan experience when celebrating home runs or when the Bees win.”
The upgrades will not only save money and reduce energy use, the new lighting will provide an even greater sports experience for families and fans, said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski.
“It’s a game changer,” said Phong Nguyen, Salt Lake City's energy management coordinator. “We’re not only improving the overall stadium experience, but we’re also reducing energy consumption by 65 percent while saving money on maintenance thanks to its 25-year warranty.”
Crews with Cache Valley Electric and Wagstaff Crane are expected to complete their installation activities this week before the 2018 baseball season begins, Paul Murphy, Salt Lake's deputy communications director, said.
"The city is always looking for ways to save energy and to use renewable energy. The cleanest energy is the energy you don’t use," he said. "We plan to use 50 percent renewable energy for the community by 2020 and 100 percent by 2032."
The city also has a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent in 2030 and 80 percent by 2040, he added.2 comments on this story
"This is a home run for the city because the investment will immediately reduce maintenance costs as well as energy costs," he said. "The ballpark will save more energy and money now and for the next 25 years."
The University of Utah baseball team is scheduled to play its home opener at the ballpark on March 23. The Bees season opener is set for April 5.
“We are grateful for the great partnership we have with Salt Lake City, which allows us to keep the ballpark a premier facility in Minor League Baseball and a vital part of our community,” Amicone said.