This is what climate protection looks like

Full luminosity, less power

Carbon Emissions Cut by 3.3 Tons Thanks to PLEXIGLAS truLED®

Luminous objects for outdoor applications are a growing international trend and light up the world's megacities even more brightly at night. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are accordingly gaining an increasing share of the illuminants market and have become an important addition and alternative to conventional lighting like neon tubing and fluorescent lamps. The main advantage of LEDs is that they require little electricity, have a long service life and are flexible in use. But even with LEDs, the climate protection debate and rising power prices make it essential to design such luminous objects for maximum energy efficiency. That is why more and more of these objects are being built with PLEXIGLAS truLED® , a material whose high light transmission paired with excellent light diffusion offers ideal lighting results with minimum power requirements.

A giant globe glows in the dark. One bright color gives way to another, and floral patterns are projected onto the facade behind. This is the spectacle to be seen every evening at Leipzig's Nova Eventis shopping mall.

"The light show follows the four seasons," explains Tobias Link, a lighting and media designer with the Scenario company who developed the lighting concept for Nova Eventis. Depending on the season, the shopping mall is bathed in a suitable light outside and in. This also caters to the time of day and various holidays like Christmas. Link developed four lighting "scores" that determine the color values, dynamics and graphic elements of the lighting in individual sections of the mall. A specially adapted media control system links light, waterworks, sound and utilities. The brilliant centerpiece of the light spectacle is the 12-meter-high luminous globe made of PLEXIGLAS truLED®. It perches on four steel pillars above the entrance to the service area of Nova Eventis. "At night, the globe functions like a video screen. We can use it to show video sequences, like on an enormous round monitor," Link explains.

This is enabled by the globe's special structure. Its outer skin consists of 576 PLEXIGLAS® "sequins" that overlap like the scales of a fish. Each sequin is 1.40 meters in diameter and is lit up by an LED spotlight so that it acts like an image spot. "We have the same picture frequency as television, 25 images per second. That means our video sequences can be recognized easily even at quite a distance," Link says. At the two poles of the globe, the sequins overlap, which means several sheets can be illuminated by just one spotlight at those points. Altogether, there are 376 LED spotlights inside the globe that can all be individually controlled. Each spotlight is equipped with three high-performance LEDs, each containing the colors red, green and blue. This makes it possible to obtain 16 million color gradations. The structure works like a Chinese lantern, except that it can also show pictures,"  Link explains.

The LED technology and controls come from Insta Elektro GmbH and had to be specially developed for this application. The company's project manager, Detlef Matthäi, explains: "With a luminous object of this size, we had to keep an eye on electricity consumption. We carried out a lot of tests with different materials, and only PLEXIGLAS truLED® provided the desired lighting effect with such low power consumption." That is due to the material's special properties. PLEXIGLAS truLED® offers particularly good transmission and lets in much more light than comparable acrylic sheets, which is important for the objects' luminosity. At the same time, the light is shed evenly due to the material's excellent diffusion. Despite the small number of LEDs, the sheets are uniformly bright. The superior light diffusion also makes it possible to install the LEDs closer together than behind standard acrylic without the light being visible as individual spots. This avoids so-called hot spots and means the objects can be made slimmer. Fewer LEDs are needed to achieve the same brightness and savings are made on electricity. That cuts energy costs and reduces carbon emissions, an important contribution to climate protection that pays off in economic terms too.

"That was the main reason why the shopping mall operators ECE GmbH chose our solution. No other lighting concept made do with as little energy as ours," Matthäi says. That is confirmed by the annual power consumption, which was calculated based on a lighting period of 365 days at 12 hours per day. The globe encloses 376 17-watt LED spotlights. Compared with conventional acrylic, PLEXIGLAS truLED® offers roughly 10 percent higher transmission. That translates as about 3.3 tons less carbon emission per year - climate protection that slashes energy bills too.

Nova Eventis is Germany's first "event mall." The shopping center in Leipzig with its 220 stores was built according to American models. What is special about this kind of center is that it aims to provide a special experience. To keep customers there as long as possible, the center stages events that make it a place where people like to linger.

This also applies in the evening, when the luminous globe is reflected in a variety of scintillating colors in the large water basins in front of the building.

The globe was designed and built by Polenz Metall Design Manufaktur. A number of special features had to be borne in mind: a special fastening device needed to be developed for the PLEXIGLAS® sequins and the LED spotlights. There were three criteria for the selection of the skin material: "The winning material was resistant to weathering and impact, lightweight and highly translucent, and saved on energy. That was why PLEXIGLAS® was the only suitable choice, right from the start," says Jürgen Polenz, Director of Polenz GmbH & Co.KG.  

Product brochure as a PDF:
Energy-saving signage with PLEXIGLAS truLED®. Download PDF 

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The Nova Eventis shopping mall installs a 12-meter-high luminous globe made of PLEXIGLAS®. more