Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, Omaha, Neb.
Editor, Greg Frank, LASN
Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Omaha, Neb. is a historic, all girls, preparatory high school that was built more than 135 years ago. The lighting for the campus was assumedly that old as well. That was until a generous donation, made by the parents of a student at the school, funded a complete renovation of the campus lighting.
Because of the school's age, extra caution was taken when installing certain fixtures; especially on the original campus archway that is over 100 years old. McKay and his team wanted to preserve the integrity of the campus, while also providing cost and energy efficient lighting with increased safety throughout. The span of their work covered the entire campus, which equates to the size of one city block.
To begin this undertaking, a 6-man team worked with a local electric company to change the 120-watt high-voltage lights to all new low-voltage LEDs; a move that effectively eliminated nearly 3,000 watts of power. As a result of this switch, the school saves about $435 a year.
Additionally, before installing new low-voltage fixtures, McKay and his team replaced some of the high-pressure sodium vapor street lamps that encircled the property. These lights created different colors, temperatures and hues that did not match what McKay had planned for the project.
Once the lights were replaced with more efficient ones, the team worked for three weeks to add an additional 185 low-voltage LEDs and 265 LED bistro lights.
To ensure voltage drop was kept to a minimum, McKay placed seven transformers, located centrally for each zone of the job. One corner of the campus was 300 feet away from the nearest transformer, and the crew had to carefully hand dig shallow conduits to get wire all the way out there. However, even for this long distance, this section did not see much voltage drop, said McKay.
One interesting fact about this job: there were no path lights installed anywhere on the campus. Instead, McKay and the lead project designer, Andrew Coleman, opted to incorporate 18 moonlights (Auroralight) to brighten the walkways. The effect highlighted the grandeur of campus, and encourages pedestrians to look at the building and trees, rather than at the path.
As a result of this three-week project, Duchesne has been moved "out of the shadows" and into the spotlight. The all-girls preparatory high school is now a safer and more illuminate campus, whose minds and edifices will shine for years to come.
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