Dartmouth Tackles Challenging Lighting Retrofit at Leverone Field House


Customer: Dartmouth College, Leverone Fieldhouse
Location: Hanover, NH
Facility Size: 91,000 ft2
Ceiling Height: 60 ft
Environment: Collegiate Athletic Facility
Temperature: Ambient
Solution: 1,000 W Metal Halide Luminaires
Savings: 75% annual energy
Partner: Leading Edge Design Group

Deployment Saves 482,000 kWh per Year and Achieves NCAA-Recommended Illumination Levels

Established in 1769 and located in Hanover, New Hampshire, Dartmouth College (Dartmouth) is the nation’s ninth oldest university and one of eight Ivy League schools. Well known for its student athletes, the university’s 34 varsity sports teams, known as “The Big Green,” compete in NCAA Division I athletics, the Ivy League conference, and the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC). The majority of Dartmouth undergraduates also participate in some form of athletics, supported by 34 club and 24 intramural sports groups.

An important part of the supporting infrastructure for its college athletics programs, Dartmouth’s recently renovated Leverone Field House is a 91,000-square foot facility with a high arching roof, 60-foot ceilings, and more than two acres of interior space. It houses an indoor track, multi-use practice area, and weight room. Almost continuously in use, it serves as the main athletic facility for numerous varsity, club, and intramural teams during the winter months, and as an indoor space for many summer camp programs that operate on the campus.

Solving Lighting Challenges With Intelligent LEDs

Historically, lighting sports complexes and arenas with traditional metal halide or fluorescent luminaires posed many challenges for facility managers — challenges that the team at Leverone Field House were determined to solve with its planned lighting retrofit. To evaluate their lighting options, they reached out to Leading Edge Design Group, an energy services firm that provides turnkey, vendor-neutral solutions for LED lighting and wireless lighting control technologies. After considering the alternatives, Leading Edge Design Group recommended the Intelligent Lighting System from Digital Lumens, which:

  • Reduced lighting-related energy use dramatically, with projected savings of 75%;
  • Achieved NCAA-recommended light levels (70 foot candles) for officially sanctioned sporting events on all event surfaces;
  • Eliminated maintenance costs associated with frequent re-lamping and re-ballasting in an extremely challenging space due to the vaulted ceiling heights and synthetic turf surfaces that require specific protection for heavy equipment needed for this maintenance;
  • Facilitated the submission and approval process with Liberty Utilities, helping Dartmouth earn an incentive totaling 35% of the total project cost


“From an energy savings and sustainability perspective, the Digital Lumens system was a highly visible success for our organization,” said Steve Shadford, P.E., LEED AP, Energy Program Manager at Dartmouth College. “Yet, at the end of the day, the real winners were the athletes themselves. Light quality is a critical component of a superior sporting experience, and the Intelligent Lighting System delivers. From athletes to event coordinators, athletics directors, and the university population-at-large, it is a highly visible and talked about improvement that reflects well on the university and varsity sports program.”

Complex Spaces, Comprehensive Solution

Prior to the Intelligent Lighting System retrofit, the Leverone Field House was illuminated by 1000-Watt metal halide luminaires, which provided minimal flexibility on how lighting was used within the facility. During operating hours, roughly 6 a.m. to midnight and frequently longer, lighting had to be left on 100% of the time due to slow ramp-up times and cycling impacts on maintenance schedules and budgets. Additionally, the facility’s vaulted ceilings and open spaces made it challenging to deliver adequate lighting to track and field surfaces, resulting in uneven lighting, low foot candle readings, and high luminaire counts.

The Digital Lumens solution, implemented by Leading Edge Design Group, solved these challenges through its:

  • Unique luminaire design, which incorporates independently rotatable and dimmable light bars within each luminaire, enabling light to be directed to where it needs to go without over-lighting spaces or increasing luminaire counts.
  • Well-designed optics that distribute light over specific pieces of equipment or across open track and field areas, respectively.
  • Fully integrated occupancy and daylight harvesting sensors in every luminaire, enabling lighting to turn on, off or dim to save energy and take advantage of natural light.
  • Integrated LightRules lighting management software, providing extremely granular control over how lighting is used throughout the facility.


“Dartmouth’s Leverone Field House is a complex, multi-dimensional space, and we felt it required a comprehensive lighting solution that could enhance the facility’s ability to support its unique users and events,” said Jay Boucher, Principal for Leading Edge Design Group. “After an extensive design process that considered many alternatives, we felt the Digital Lumens system helped Dartmouth improve flexibility while maximizing energy savings and delivery of light.”

Intelligent is the Key

As seasons change or a new school year begins, field house schedules and usage patterns invariably change as well. In order to manage how lighting is delivered within the Field House and access critical decision-making data, facility personnel actively leverage LightRules, the Digital Lumens’ integrated lighting management software. LightRules provides the tools they need to:

  • Control luminaire settings and behaviors, such as how long lighting stays on after a space is unoccupied and/or light level settings, down to the individual luminaire level.
  • Group lighting around specific pieces of equipment or field surfaces, such as batting cages, infield or the outer track, and manage their settings and behaviors.
  • Create and name different lighting scenarios, such as “Baseball Practice” or “NCAA Track and Field Events,” enabling lighting to be quickly aligned with the specific needs of a sporting activity or event, e.g., increasing center field lighting intensity during baseball practice while dimming unoccupied track surfaces, or vice versa.
  • Learn more about how lighting is being used, such as where activity is concentrated in the facility or when peak usage occurs, through integrated reports that document lighting use and energy savings by luminaire, zone or facility-wide for any timeframe needed.
  • Develop an on-site touchscreen kiosk for coaches and event managers. Using the LightRules application programming interface (API), the touchscreen has a range of profiles that map to the many uses of the site so that anyone with login credentials can easily and securely invoke lighting profiles for their specific uses, e.g., softball practice, baseball practice, or reunion event.


“Through its comprehensive approach, the Digital Lumens system greatly simplified our transition to energy-efficient lighting,” continued Mr. Shadford. “In the process, we gained an easily managed lighting system with the flexibility to meet the needs of our athletes and staff, and that reflects well on the college. A project’s success can be defined on many levels — energy savings, ease of installation and support, light quality, suitability to purpose, and maintenance — and on all fronts, Leading Edge Design Group and Digital Lumens met our expectations.”