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The Santa Monica Pier, in Santa Monica, Calif., is a 97-year-old Southern California landmark and has found a solution to make its lighting more efficient. The famed pier, featured in numerous movies and television shows over the years, was in desperate need of a lighting upgrade, so Santa Monica officials turned to LED light bulbs.

Illuminating the night sky along the stretch of Pacific coast beach where it resides, the 413,056 square-foot Pier is a popular attraction. However, lighting it was becoming a challenge in terms of cost, energy consumption, light pollution and maintenance. By switching to LED lighting systems, the Pier has tackled all of those issues at one time.

The Pier joins California's energy conservation efforts
California, long known for being at the forefront of "green" technologies, had already set a standard that the Santa Monica Pier is now following. By replacing the fluorescent lights it had been using, Santa Monica officials have realized significant environmental benefits – with the potential to reduce the site's energy usage by up to 80 percent – as well as other positive outcomes.

"The old fluorescent lights on the Pier burned out, left gaps in the lighting and were in a difficult area to maintain," said Matt Henigan, an energy efficiency engineer with the City of Santa Monica office of sustainability and the environment. "With the new lamps in place, maintenance is minimal, and we have already reduced energy consumption by over 30 percent. And because the LED lighting is directional, it improves safety and enhances the Pier's appearance without causing light pollution for local residents."

LEDs impart beautiful, easy to maintain look for Pier
When dealing with a lighting design as enormous and complex as the one at the Pier, maintenance is always a major concern. Fluorescent bulbs burn out much quicker than LEDs and don't provide as bright a profile, which also affects safety.

"Now that the necklace lights on the carousel building have been replaced with LEDs, there are no gaps, they give off a nice, bright glow, and the colors really bring out the colors on the building… [and] we won't need to change these bulbs for years," Jim Harris, deputy director of the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation, said.

By making the switch to LEDs, the Pier has found a way to become cleaner, more efficient and significantly improve facility maintenance.