Digital Lighting Management switches lighting to Game Day at Alabama Crimson Tide stadium

08/01/2012 |

A recent south end zone expansion at the University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium added state-of-the-art skyboxes, a stadium club and a donor hall of fame to better serve Crimson Tide supporters and increase capacity. Bryant-Denny, home of the 2009 season BCS National Championship team, is now the fifth largest college football stadium in the United States, with seating for 101,821 fans.

The stadium personnel and engineers planning the construction wanted lighting controls that were easier to install, operate and service than controls in older parts of the facility, and turned to WattStopper for assistance. After learning about the company’s new Digital Lighting Management (DLM) product line, Electrical Engineer Tim Cooke of Jackson, Renfro & Associates decided to use distributed DLM room controllers for discrete spaces, including skyboxes, offices and boardrooms, and Lighting Integrator panels for common areas. To facilitate centralized scheduling and management, he would network all of the controls to a DLM segment manager.

The carefully layered combination of manual and automatic control works perfectly for everyday administrative functions and for game day operations. Facility Manager David Hamner says, “I’m very pleased with the WattStopper system. The company worked with us well and listened to our requests. All the equipment is operating as specified, and I can check the status of the lighting from my laptop, even when I’m out of town.” Hamner is charged with overseeing Bryant-Denny’s energy performance.

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User interfaces
Cooke specified two-button DLM switches connected to dual-relay room controllers for bi-level, manual-on lighting control in the offices and board rooms. Skyboxes are equipped with single-relay room controllers and one-button switches. The room controllers are scheduled to turn off after hours, and the switches provide code-compliant override.

Lighting in lobbies, hallways and the club levels is scheduled for on and off, but common areas are also equipped with DLM switches that serve as masters and provide override control. The switches control fixtures connected to both lighting control panels and room controllers.

Finally, a DLM “Game Day Switch” puts the entire expansion in “Game Day Mode,” which temporarily disables time delays, ensuring that lighting is always on for the safety and convenience of football fans.

WattStopper Lighting Controls Used:

LMRC-101 and LMRC-102 Digital Room Controllers, LMBC-300 Network Bridge Modules, LMSW-100 Series Digital Wall Switches, LMSM-603 Digital Network Segment Manager, Lighting Integrator lighting control panels
Installation and programming
The DLM switches and room controllers feature RJ45 jacks for plug together connection using Cat 5 cabling, which facilitated the installation. Because every switch uses the same connection, it is easy to substitute a switch with more or less control buttons, should specifications change during construction. Switch buttons can be quickly configured to control selected loads and provide the desired sequences of operation for a specific installation.

Hamner’s assistant, Paige McLelland, developed lighting control schedules for meetings, events and game days using a browser-based interface served up by the segment manager, which communicates with all the panels and room controllers. “The system was easy to learn and WattStopper has been very responsive to my questions. I bookmarked the URL for the segment manager so I can access it quickly, and everything is working great.” says McLelland.

Future plans
Following the success of the Bryant-Denny installation, Tim Cooke is specifying WattStopper DLM lighting controls for future University of Alabama projects including an engineering and science building. Additionally, David Hamner is researching the feasibility of integrating WattStopper controls throughout Bryant-Denny Stadium to bring control of the whole facility to the functional level of the new expansion.

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