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There’s nothing quite like the feel of ice under your feet as you glide across the rink. Whether you’re a figure skating fan or enjoy playing hockey, spending time at the skating rink is a fun extracurricular activity. But did you know that proper lighting is essential in creating a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone?
Let’s face it, just because the calendar says it’s January doesn’t guarantee that the weather will be cold enough to skate outdoors. But an indoor ice rink is the better option for people who must consistently improve their skills, form, and speed.
The most important thing to know about indoor ice rink lighting is that it needs to be bright enough for everyone to see clearly. Professionals on the ice must see the surface clearly to avoid obstacles, referees or judges need to see the skaters’ to make calls or place scores fairly, and viewers in the stands want to see all the action without straining their eyes.
That’s a lot of masters to serve! So venues that need to accommodate all of these groups typically install two different types of lighting:
The first type is overhead lighting, which is mounted on the ceiling and shines down onto the rink. This type of lighting provides a clear view of the entire surface for people in the stands. But it can create glare and shadows for people on the ice, which can be dangerous.
So, when selecting overhead light fixtures for an indoor rink, choosing ones that provide even, diffused lighting with a low glare factor is essential. Metal halide and high-pressure sodium light fixtures are popular choices because they produce many lumens, a measure of light output. But they create extra heat, which can raise temperatures.
LED lighting is a newer technology that is becoming more popular for indoor ice rinks because it doesn’t produce as much heat and can be dimmed or turned off entirely between sessions without affecting the lifespan of the bulbs.
The second type of lighting used in indoor ice rinks is floodlights, which are mounted around the rink’s perimeter and shine directly onto the surface. Floodlighting provides more light on the skating surface, making it easier for skaters to see. But it can create glare and shadows for people in the stands, distracting the audience.
So when selecting floodlights for an indoor rink, choosing ones with a wide beam spread (the width of the light beam) is essential. A wider swath helps distribute the light more evenly across the skating surface. Metal halide and high-pressure sodium light fixtures are popular choices because they produce a lot of lumens (a measure of light output). But they can create a lot of heat, potentially melting the surface.
For those lucky enough to have access to an outdoor ice-skating rink, there are factors to know about as it applies to skating rink lighting.
Natural light from the sun is the best source for an outdoor rink. And on clear days, the sun can provide enough light to skate safely. But on cloudy days or after dark, supplemental lighting helps to ensure everyone using the skating rink can see clearly.
Floodlights are the most popular type of supplemental lighting for outdoor rinks because they provide a wide beam of light that evenly illuminates the skating surface. In addition, metal halide and high-pressure sodium light fixtures are popular choices because they produce a lot of lumens (a measure of light output). But these lighting choices can create a lot of heat, potentially melting the surface.
LED lighting is a newer technology changing the game at outdoor skating rinks because they operate more efficiently.
When choosing the proper lighting for a skating rink, it’s essential to consider the needs of all stakeholders. For example, spectators and athletes need clear visibility to see the action on the ice. Hobbyist skaters need light for safety. And rink management needs lighting solutions that are energy-efficient and cost-effective.
LED lighting ticks all of these boxes and more. LED lights provide bright, evenly distributed light without causing excessive glare. They can be remotely controlled for easy adjustments and have a long lifespan compared to traditional incandescent or fluorescent lights. Plus, LED lights consume less energy and require less maintenance, resulting in lower operating costs. Overall, LED lighting is the ideal choice for any skating rink operator looking to balance the needs of all involved parties.
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