Empire State Building to Get LED Upgrade

May 29, 2012 by

One of the world’s most famous buildings is about to get an upgrade. The Empire State Building is currently undergoing a renovation to replace its 400 existing exterior standard lamps with 1,200 LED fixtures. Even the building’s mast, which currently sports fluorescent tubes, will be fitted with LED lights.

The aim is to beautify the building’s exterior, while making it more energy efficient—the upgrade will cut back on annual energy costs by 75 percent and will last three to six times longer than the current lighting. With the projected savings, the upgrade will pay for itself in only six years.

The new fixtures will light up the Empire State Building with over 16 million colors, ranging from rich hues to subtle pastels—a major upgrade from the current limited palette of only 10 colors. Each color can be instantly manipulated to create lighting effects that include rainbows, ripples and bursts, giving the sense that the building is continuously in motion.

But some are worried that the new lighting capabilities might be used poorly.

“We won’t be showing TV shows on the side of the building,” Anthony E. Malkin, president of Malkin Holdings, an affiliate of the entity that owns the building told the New York Times recently. “We’ll maintain the traditional iconic international recognition that the Empire State Building has,” Malkin said.

Installation will begin in the coming weeks, and is slated to wrap up sometime in the fall. Want a preview? Check out this mockup testing video shot last month.

photo credits: Philips Color Kinetics

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2 Comments so far

  1. Joquena says:

    I want to see video when the new lights are all installed. Sounds beautiful.

  2. Penny W. says:

    That test video shows lots of potentially exciting ways to use the lighting. I bet it will look wonderful when done.

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