World Famous Buildings Go LED

New York's Times Square

While New York’s Times Square and Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing have dominated popular culture with their flashy LED display advertising, famous landmarks around the world have been quietly turning to the energy saving lighting to illuminate their buildings including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Brandenburg Gate, the Singapore Flyer, CN Tower, the Ericsson Globe Arena, and the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome (in New Orleans, Louisiana).

New York's Empire State Building

New York’s Empire State Building – famous for its ever-changing light display – is getting ready to deploy LEDs.  The team behind the landmark is installing an innovative computerized LED system that allows for a nearly endless array of color combinations, going from 10 under the old system to more than 16 million colors.  Currently, a team takes several hours to change 400 light fixtures. With the new system, the color changes occur automatically. The system installation is anticipated to be complete by September 2012.

The Louvre Museum in Paris, France, after already using LED lighting for exterior areas, is now beginning a second project with Toshiba to develop LED lighting for the interior of the museum. The project will illuminate some of the most famous exhibits including The Mona Lisa and the Red Rooms along Napoleon Hall in the Louvre’s main entrance.  To date, the Louvre says that the museum has reduced energy costs on the exterior lighting by 73%.

LED lighting has already been tested at other famous venues in the art world including the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC.

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About Beth

It seems like LEDs are in everything these days – backlighting everything from your mobile phone, Apple iPad and flat screen HDTV to traffic lights, light bulbs and even the kitchen sink. But, making LEDs is a complex process that begins with the creation of sapphire. Not the pretty blue gemstone, but large commercial crystals that can weigh as much as 400 lbs. Once these large sapphire crystals are grown into boules and cooled, they’re cut into cores, cut further into flat circular wafers, polished and then used to grow LEDs. About 85 percent of HB-LEDs (high brightness) are grown on sapphire. There’s not that much information out there about the process. This blog is meant to shed some light (excuse the pun) on sapphire, LEDs and the industry that is devoted to making our lives just a little brighter. In the months ahead, we’ll tackle some topics that will help you understand a little more about sapphire and LED industry. Here’s a sample of what we’ll cover in the coming months: • Growing sapphire • For a wafer, size matters • Quality - When sapphire wafers go bad • LED light bulbs • Market & myths • Interviews with industry shining stars • Reports from industry events • Current events in perspective Please join us each week to learn more about sapphire and the LED market. We look forward to seeing you.

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