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Birthday Makeover
Birthday Makeover
Birthday Makeover

05.03Birthday Makeover

“Urban Light” installation celebrates it’s 10th birthday this month and for this occasion got a green makeover thanks to the Leonardo Di Caprio Foundation - the actor convinced the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to switch to energy-efficient LED bulbs.

The installation outside the entrance of the museum was donated to LACMA in 2008 and consists of 202 street lamps all from 1920-30s and vary in size and shape because they are taken from 16 different cities and municipalities in Southern California. According to LACMA Director Michael Govan the lampposts represent the whole county with each city responsible for designing its own lamp, it was then an expression of the city’s design, each lamp is public art.

The switch to LED bulbs will reduce the artwork’s energy consumption by 90 percent and will save more than 3 million kilowatt hours of electricity over the next 10 years. This amount is enough to power 295 average-sized American houses for a year. The foundation says that the energy savings can be compared to growing 61,199 trees for 10 years. Besides the obvious environmental advantages, the switch also has practical ones: the incandescent bulbs were extremely hot- up to 350 watts and they weren’t water-tight which means that a cold rainstorm can lead to the blow out of 10-15 bulbs.

The switch was quite complicated: it took about 2 years to find the LEDs that match the quality of light that the artist intended, with the cost of transition totalling $26,000.

“Urban Light” goes on everyday at dusk and turns off at dawn, it hasn’t missed a single night and that’s no magic - it is guided by an astronomical timer that automatically adjusts to local sunrise and sunset.

Photo credit: Michael Grobe

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