Energy Consumption

Gallery Lighting

Proper lighting is critical for the installation of a work of art, as its quality and quantity affect the object’s appearance. To light Thomas Moran’s painting Lower Falls, Yellowstone Park (1893), the Princeton University Art Museum’s lighting technician used three 38-watt PAR38 (parabolic aluminized reflector) LEDs, which can control light precisely, and two 50-watt PAR36 halogen lamps. During the 84 days Nature's Nation will be on view at Princeton, this configuration will consume an estimated 117 kilowatt hours of electricity, approximately twelve times less energy than halogen lights.

Princeton’s lighting technician adjusting the lamps to effectively display Albert Bierstadt’s Mount Adams, Washington (1875).

Throughout the galleries, precise temperature and humidity levels must be maintained to preserve the material integrity of the art on view. Gallery lighting also contributes to a museum’s overall energy consumption. For example, light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs consume far less energy than older halogen lamps, a type of incandescent bulb that produces more heat waste and has a much shorter lifespan than LEDs.