Signifying another milestone in the adoption of LED sources for large-scale landmark projects, in June 2007 Color Kinetics’ LED lighting systems dynamically transformed the world’s tallest freestanding tower: the CN Tower in Toronto. The installation was unveiled to the public with great fanfare on June 28.
CN Tower stands 553 meters (1,815 feet) tall and is considered an engineering wonder of the modern world. For nearly a decade the Tower was minimally lit in an effort to conserve energy while awaiting a better long-term lighting solution. Following extensive evaluation, a Color Kinetics system was chosen to visually transform the Tower’s appearance while reducing energy consumption and maintenance requirements at the same time. According to preliminary operation, the Tower will consume less energy when fully illuminated by LED luminaires than it did when only partially illuminated by conventional sources.
“The CN Tower is widely regarded as the iconic symbol of tourism for Toronto, Ontario and Canada, and we are thrilled to further distinguish its presence against the evening skyline,” said Jack Robinson, Chief Operating Officer, CN Tower. “It was paramount for us to achieve an energy-efficient, sustainable lighting installation for Canada’s National Tower, and Color Kinetics’ LED-based system proved the ideal choice. Our landmark will have a visually striking, modern new look to serve as a beacon of tourism and of our city.”
The project called for approximately 1,300 LED-based luminaires to be installed within the Tower’s elevator shafts, projecting light all the way to its antenna mast. Each luminaire is individually programmable and can produce millions of colors and color-changing effects without the need for glass filters, colored gels, or electro-mechanical color scrollers. The Tower will display various colors according to national events and holidays, beginning with a special light show programmed specifically for the grand unveiling.
“It’s an honor for Color Kinetics to be chosen for a project of this stature, and to bring the extraordinary visual impact of intelligent LED lighting to the most iconic architectural structure in Canada,” said Bill Sims, President and CEO, Color Kinetics. “This installation perfectly exemplifies the new approach to architectural lighting that LED technology allows - enabling the use of vibrant color where it was previously impractical, while simultaneously alleviating energy and maintenance concerns. We’re proud to name CN Tower among our growing list of landmark installations, and we look forward to celebrating its launch with the city of Toronto.”
Additional facts about the new Tower lighting:
- The entire LED installation will consume 60% less energy than the fully lit Tower of the 1990s, and 10% less energy than the previous system*, while providing more light output and dynamic effects.
- Each LED luminaire uses less than 20% of the energy required to power a comparable conventional color-changing lighting fixture.*
- The former incandescent fixtures were as large as washing machines, whereas the new LED luminaires are no bigger than a shoebox.
- The directional nature of LED sources means that the output can be precisely directed and will not “spill” or interfere with nearby hotels, office towers or residences.
*According to CN Tower’s calculation