The puck drops Sunday for the Hurricanes’ pre-season opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Caniacs will notice the view in PNC Arena is a little brighter.
PNC Arena is the first NHL venue in the United States to feature energy-efficient LED lighting, which will not only save money, but be a benefit to the fans who attend the more than 150 events hosted in the arena every year.
“We are the first U.S.-based NHL team to have LED lighting,” PNC Arena General Manager Dave Olsen said. “They have it right now in Montreal. We went out and looked at that back in February.”
In a history making move, 260 older high intensity lights in the arena were removed and replaced with 216 LED lights.
“It will be much lighter in here. It will have a real nice, white look to it,” Olsen explained. “Gives it a nice look — nice effect.”
Canes General Manager Ron Francis said he received positive feedback from Montreal since the lighting was installed there.
“How much brighter it was — a lot less shadows and stuff,” Francis enthused. “So we are excited about being the first U.S. team to be using it.”
LED experts Musco Lighting promises its new lighting will drastically reduce glare and shadows, and improve player performance. Musco said the experience for home viewers will also be improved.
“It’s been well received with television,” Olsen said. “It really enhances the HD quality.”
The lights, which are manufactured by RTP-based Cree, can also be dimmed, setting a different mood for shows than for sporting events.
While Olsen said he is not sure how much the new green lighting will save in energy, he estimates it will save the area at least $30,000 to $50,000 a year.
In addition to the year savings, he said the project came in under budget.
“The Centennial Authority had a $1.3 million budget for this three years from now,” Olsen said. “We decided to move it up to this year at a cost of $650,000.”
Olsen predicts all large venues will convert to LED in the next couple of years.