Telecommunication-tower lighting makes Dutch town a landmark.
When Alticom, Meppei, Netherlands (alticom.nl), a Dutch telecommunication infrastructure company, purchased 24 telecommunication towers from National Dutch Telecom (KPN, kpn.com), The Hague, Netherlands, it was hard to imagine the structures as a city’s prominent landmarks. Built in the early 1960s, the transmission towers were outdated and in need of serious upgrades. Originally constructed for the distribution of TV and telecommunication signals throughout the Netherlands, Alticom took on the project to update the systems and set up sustainable data centers within the towers. In 2010, the data center of Alphen aan de Rijn was completed as a second data center, following the construction and successful delivery of the data center in the Zwolle tower.
The idea to illuminate the radio mast came from a local resident who presented the plan to the city’s Economic Development Board Alphen (EDBA). The goal was for the 443-ft. tower to become a focal point of the city and to be visible and recognizable from a distance.
When the EDBA approved the idea, ETK Lighting BV, Bodegraven, Netherlands (etk.nl), was brought in to develop the project. ETK Lighting BV provides project-based lighting solutions, starting with calculations and lighting plans. ETK also is a supplier of fixtures and related equipment.
To make the vision a reality, ETK Lighting enlisted Acclaim Lighting, Los Angeles (acclaimlighting.com), to ensure that the tower would be a landmark for the City of Alphen aan den Rijn. The project also involved the local marketing group Alphen Marketing, the city of Alphen aan den Rijn, and two local companies: fiberglass supplier Alphen On Fibre, (alphenonfiber.nl), and Hillsafety, (hillsafety.nl), a security system company.
“World cities such as Paris, London, and New York already have iconic buildings that can be illuminated for special occasions,” said Gert-Jan Woudsma, owner of Hillsafety. “Alphen aan den Rijn will soon be in that list with this illuminated showpiece.”
To make the structure comparable to the Eiffel Tower or the Empire State Building, the tower is illuminated daily with a basic color scheme of white and green, in reference to Alphen aan den Rijn as the center of the “Green Heart,” an area in the Dutch “Randstad,” which is a megalopolis in the central-western Netherlands. The colors can also be adjusted for special events and celebrations. For instance, the tower is covered in green and red light during Christmas time, orange on the King’s Day, and red, white, and blue in celebration of Liberation Day.
As a permanently illuminated building, the products used to light the tower at needed to be weather resistant, long lasting, and bright. Working in tandem with ETK Lighting to create a custom lighting system, Acclaim Lighting representatives selected fixtures with a high IP66 rating for wet locations to provide resistance against strong winds and extreme weather conditions.
To illuminate the concrete base from the bottom upward, four Acclaim Dyna Drums HO 4000 K with a beam angle of 6 deg. were installed, each providing 10,103 total lumens. The fixtures feature an adjustable yoke for customizable focus and an onboard digital display for menu selection and adjusting color schemes. With a lumen maintenance rate of 50,000 hr. at 70%, the fixture will remain bright for years—an important quality requirement for fixtures used on a permanently illuminated structure.
In addition to the lights at the base of the tower, the six different floors with balconies on the structure received their own unique lighting applications. Twenty-four Dyna Flood XT DMX RGBA fixtures with a beam angle of 70 deg. were installed to highlight the floors. Because of their high output and weather resistance, the fixtures provide a solution for large-scale facade lighting and flood illumination, featuring a total lumen output of 3,200 for the RGBA version. With an adjustable head and internal DMX driver, the brightness and placement of the concentration of light can be adapted to the desired use.
Finally, two Dyna Drums SO 4000 K were incorporated into the design, crowning the metal construction and antennas at the top of the tower with the fixtures. The high-output, outdoor-rated, LED flood fixtures make the tower the city’s focal point with 7,769 total lumens. The adjustable yoke, on-board digital display and weather-resistant capabilities complete the customized lighting solution.
Permanently illuminated since December 2017, the end result is an energy-efficient, weather-resistant lighting system that accomplishes Alticom’s primary goal: to make a telecommunication tower a highly visible and recognizable landmark of the City of Alphen aan den Rijn.
“The tower literally serves as a landmark. If you see the tower, you will see Alphen,” said Woudsma. “With the lighting of the tower we make Alphen aan den Rijn visible, literally and figuratively.”