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07/28/2014
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Canada Life iconic beacon switches to LEDs

Posted on August 16, 2013 Category: Entertainment & Stage Lighting Articles

For more than 60 years, the Canada Life Building in downtown Toronto has given residents a visual weather forecast. The building has a spire that changes colors to give passers-by a weather prediction. This beacon was installed on the Canada Life building in August 1961.

If the lights on the beacon are green, the forecast is clear for the day. Red lights signal cloudy skies, flashing red is rain and flashing white lights mean snow. In addition, the tower will signal warming temperatures by lights running upwards, and dropping temperatures with downward-moving lights. Wallet-sized cards that explain how to read the forecast can be found in the building's lobby. The information that controls the beacon is updated four times each day with forecasts from Environment Canada's Weather Centre at Pearson International Airport.

Currently, the weather beacon is lit using more than 1,000 incandescent light bulbs, which average a whopping 10,000 kilowatt hours of energy per month to run. Because incandescents have a short lifespan, they also need to be replaced frequency.

Because of this, and other reasons, Canada Life has decided to convert the iconic beacon to RGB LED lights.

"Converting the weather beacon to LED technology helps to reduce the carbon footprint of this well-recognized and cherished Toronto landmark," Paul Finkbeiner, president of GWL Realty Advisors Inc., which manages the Canada Life Building, said in a statement. "This is one of many projects that GWL Realty Advisors is undertaking to enhance building performance and reduce energy costs. We are fortunate to work with clients who invest consistently and prudently in their assets."

Making the switch to LED lights
The transition from incandescent to RGB LED lighting is taking place in mid-August, and the change is expected to reduce energy consumption by as much as 93 percent. This is not the company's first step into energy conservation. The beacon used to be run 24 hours a day until seven years ago, when the decision was made to turn it off every night at midnight.

Canada Life utilized LED lights in the past when it installed a miniature replica of the weather beacon in the building's lobby. These LED lights are synchronized with its full-sized counterpart.

Not only will these LED lights provide significant energy savings, but they will also make the beacon even more bright and vivid, especially during the day.