Fixtures Wash Out Light Puddles

Flexible LED fixtures reduce costs and eliminate poor light distribution that was making it difficult for occupants to do business.

The ArcheType X fixtures evenly illuminate the entire ceiling while delivering required footcandles to the customer and work areas.

The 1st Choice Savings & Credit Union in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, was designed to be a bright and inviting facility with an open lobby, a high ceiling, and glass facades that allow plenty of sunlight into the building. While the architect had the best of intentions, the lobby lighting was not working for customers or employees.

One issue had to do with the physical position of the building. Facing north, large windows offered plenty of daylight on sunny days. That amount of light is normally welcome in a commercial space. In the Lethbridge building, however, it caused a tremendous amount of glare during prime working hours, making it difficult for staff to do their jobs. To rectify this issue, the maintenance team applied a tint to the windows.

The tinting solved the sunny-day problem but created illumination issues on overcast days. The 22 legacy 150-W indirect/direct metal-halide (MH) fixtures provided inadequate illumination for the lobby and many people visiting the facility were compelled to comment on how dark it felt. The fixtures were doing a poor job of throwing light out across the space. Instead, light would puddle on the floor and ceiling, which resulted in poor illumination levels as the teller and the customer were blocking the light from each side. Staff frequently found it difficult to perform critical tasks.

In addition, recurrent metal-halide-fixture maintenance issues were becoming cost prohibitive and 1st Choice personnel would often wait to service the fixtures knowing that another issue was destined to come up shortly. Lamp and ballast failures were prevalent every week or two and a quick-fix upgrade to medium-base MH lamps proved to be unsuccessful when the burnouts continued.

To solve the problem, the team at 1st Choice enlisted lighting-design firm Optics Lighting, Calgary (, to evaluate a number of lighting solutions. The designers concluded that LED technology would most certainly solve the maintenance issues but that performance would still be challenging due to the unique dimensions of the room and the ceiling.

Flexibility and light distribution made it possible to reduce the number of fixtures from 22 metal-halide luminaires to 14 LED units.

It was decided to pilot the ArcheType X luminaire, manufactured by KIM Lighting, an affiliate of Hubbell Lighting Inc., City of Industry, CA ( The luminaire makes it possible to precisely place light where it’s needed most with high target efficiency. In ArcheType X, LEAR (light engine adjustable ready) modules are individually controlled to provide custom light distribution. Each optical assembly accommodates 359-deg. of rotation and tilts between 0 and 70 deg.

The lighting design at the credit union is significantly more efficient than the MH system, evenly illuminates the entire ceiling, and delivers the required footcandles to the floor/work areas. In fact, because of the adjustability of the fixtures, designers were able to reduce the number of fixtures needed to light the space from 22 to 14, while improving uniformity and efficacy. As a result, the system uses 57% less wattage than the MH lamps, which used 3,300 W. The ArcheType X fixtures operate at 1,414 W.

The improved light distribution has had a positive impact on customers and staff. Feedback from staff members indicates the light system has improved conditions and made them more effective at serving customers. Management has been pleased with the cost savings to date. In addition to using less energy, they are saving money on maintenance costs with fewer calls to the electrician.

According to 1st Choice CEO Jason Sentes, “It’s important that our facility reflect our brand standards, be inviting, and demonstrate a professional and trustworthy persona. With the ArcheType X we have an LED luminaire that blends in perfectly with the aesthetics of the designed space, is more energy efficient than our legacy fixtures, has decreased our need for on-going maintenance and, most importantly, improved the quality of light in the space for our members and staff. We have the best, most efficient lighting where we need it, when we need it.”

Click here to download the ArcheType X fixture technical brochure.

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