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LED Lighting for Convention Centers

Shop for LED Convention Center lighting - options can reduce overhead, increase quality of experience, and improve safety. Indoor and outdoor light fixtures and free photometrics....

If you’ve noticed a drop in the number of bookings at your convention center, your first thought might be that you need to do more marketing. Focusing your efforts on social media marketing and calling your former clients to remind them of your existence might seem like great ideas to help fill up your events calendar.

However, you might be overlooking an important factor that will not only help attract your clients but also help retain them – convention center LED lighting. Lighting plays a crucial role in the success of events and helps enhance the overall image of a convention center.

Think about it, businesses and organizations part with thousands of dollars to hold events at convention centers. The least you can do is offer them good lighting. If you own or manage a convention center, you must ensure that the lighting is sufficient. Quality LED lighting provides positive experiences and a productive environment for exhibitors, customers, attendees, and event managers.

LED Convention Center Fixtures

LED Outdoor Fixtures for Convention Centers

LED Convention Center Lighting

Types of Traditional Convention Center Lights


Metal Halides

Metal halide lights are a type of high intensity discharge (HID) lamp which contain a gaseous mix of vaporized mercury and metal halides (compounds between metals and halogen). The lamps generate light when an electrical arc navigates through gaseous mix.

And while these lamps have a good color rendering index compared to other conventional light sources (60-65), LEDs have a higher CRI. Metal halides are quite expensive to manufacture and require a substantial amount of electricity to produce light; they are highly inefficient. Their high energy consumption contributes to more greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

Their useful life is between 6,000 and 15,000 hours and they require frequent replacement and maintenance, costing convention centers several thousands of dollars annually. These lights take a long period to warm up (up to 15 minutes) and if the power goes off, they cannot be switched back on immediately. They need about 10-15 minutes to cool down first. In addition, the light they produce as they age is pinkish and renders colors very poorly.

The mercury contained in metal halide lamps is dangerous to humans and the environment. Special disposal methods must be followed when getting rid of the lamps.


High Pressure Sodium Lights

Apart from MH lights, high pressure sodium (HPS) lights were once widely used in convention centers. But these lamps have a short life expectancy and are highly inefficient, because they have a very low color rendering index. They also need a lot of electricity to produce light and drive up a convention center’s power bills.


Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent lights use fluorescence to generate visible light. When the electric current in the lamp stirs the mercury vapor, it generates an ultraviolet light which makes the phosphor coating within the lamp to glow, producing visible light.

Before LED High Bay Fixtures, fluorescent lights were the most popular in convention centers. They have a low upfront cost and produce bright light. But the truth is that they are quite expensive in the long run because they burn out fast and require regular maintenance. They are also designed to operate with ballasts which wear out easily and also pull energy.

And while the lights are more energy-efficient than other traditional lighting systems, they still draw more power than LEDs. Some fluorescent lamps deliver 50 lumens for each watt they pull, increasing carbon emissions. Also, fluorescents don’t work well in cold temperatures and may fail to start. If they start at all, they may flicker and irritate the eyes. They also contain mercury.

Why LED Convention Center Lights Have Taken the Market by Storm

LEDs have replaced fluorescent and metal halide lamps in many convention centers. More and more stakeholders are realizing that a high initial cost does not make LED lighting expensive. The unparalleled efficiency of LEDs makes it possible for them to get back their investment in less than two years.

Convention center LED lights offer high energy savings (up to 80%) and are more affordable in the long run. They have the capacity to produce high-quality light while using much less energy than traditional lighting systems.

As LED technology continues to advance, the likelihood is that the upfront costs will go down further. Rebates from utility companies and incentives from the government also offset the initial cost. LEDs have a long useful life (50,000-100,000 hours) and do not lose their brightness as they age, like other light sources.

These lights are virtually maintenance-free. They eliminate the high costs of replacement lamps and labor. LEDs are cost-effective and the best lighting choice for convention centers. They don’t contain fragile electrical components like ballasts that draw power and require regular replacement. They have a sturdy structure and distribute light uniformly.

In a convention center, the lighting can make or break an event. LEDs make items appear as they would under the sun thanks to their high CRIs. Exhibitors can display their products and customers can clearly see the actual colors and textures of the items displayed.

Challenges with Traditional Convention Center Lighting

High Energy Consumption

Traditional lighting systems require a high amount of energy to generate adequate light. HID lamps generally draw a lot of electricity and convert most of it into heat instead of light. This means you may have to get higher-wattage lamps to adequately illuminate a convention center, because more wattage equals more light.

Poor Color Rendering Index

HID lamps generally produce low-quality light and have low color rendering indexes. They do not create the right atmosphere for trade show exhibitors and visitors in a convention center. If there is an exhibition, people are not compelled to buy the available products because they do not look attractive.

Lights with low CRIs do not make objects appear in their natural colors, and this affects the purchasing decisions of buyers, causing exhibitors to suffer losses. Low-quality light negatively affects the general mood of human beings. Event managers may receive negative responses from attendees because they did not enjoy the events.

High Maintenance Costs

Convention centers spend tons of money maintaining traditional lights because they need frequent replacement and servicing. And since convention centers can sit on as much as 100,000 square meters, the lighting costs can be very high.

The lights are normally installed on high ceilings which require long ladders or bucket trucks to reach. And as lighting technicians change out bulbs, they are at risk of falling and getting injured, which means labor costs aren’t cheap.

Most traditional lights have a short rated life. They contain delicate components which easily get damaged. They may have a low upfront cost, but maintaining them is really expensive as money has to be spent regularly on purchasing new lamps and labor.


Some traditional lights – like fluorescents – are fragile and can get easily damaged. When they are being repaired or installed, they may easily break if not handled properly. And since the lamps produce a lot of heat and contain fragile elements, they burn out easily.

Limited CCT Range

Older convention center lights don’t offer variety as far as correlated color temperature (CCT) is concerned. This makes them unsuitable for applications that need flexible lighting. For example, HPS lights have a CCT of 2200K (orange in appearance), but the required CCT for convention center lights is 3000K and above.

Don’t Work with Lighting Control Systems

The major purpose of lighting controls is to increase energy efficiency. They ensure that lights are only used when and where they are required. Traditional lighting systems do not operate properly with lighting controls.

Fluorescents buzz and flicker and can’t be dimmed 100% while metal halides take too long to start and restart. What’s more, lighting controls decrease the efficiency of traditional lights by shortening their ballast life.

Negatively Affects Human Mood

Lighting affects human beings in more ways than we think. Low-quality lighting produced by traditional lamps can have a negative effect on human mood and behavior. In fact, research has shown that human mood plummets when lighting is perceived as too dull or too bright.

Such lighting brings about headaches and eye-fatigue, conditions that can affect anyone’s mood. In a convention center, bad lighting may affect the mood of attendees, resulting in limited interaction and engagement. This lighting can negatively affect the success of events at convention centers and drive away customers and prospects.

Omni-Directional Light

HID and fluorescent lights produce light in 360 degrees instead of a specific direction. A lot of light is wasted as it is directed where it is not required. Reflectors must be used to redirect the light where it’s needed, but they are never 100% efficient.

Long Warm-Up Period

Metal halide lamps do not start instantly. They have a long warm-up period (5-15 minutes, depending on the specific type of lamp) and do not have the capacity to illuminate spaces the minute they are switched on.

In case the power goes off, the arc tube inside the lamp needs about 15 minutes to cool. This is called restrike time. This means that your event attendees will be in the dark for a long time, and their experience will be ruined.

Environmental Hazard

All traditional lamps contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment. These include mercury and sodium. In vapor form, mercury is dangerous to human beings. If the lamps get damaged during maintenance or disposal processes, humans, animals, and the environment can be harmed.

The lamps require special disposal procedures set by the Environmental Protection Agency. If they are wrongly disposed, these substances will end up in landfills. They may wind up killing the fish in lakes and rivers, affecting the lives of human beings and animals.

Features to Consider When Buying Convention Center LED Lights

Lighting Controls and Sensors

Controls for Lights Image

Most LED convention center lights work well with lighting controls and are compatible with most sensors. However, when buying external controls, you must be sure to buy those that work with your LED lights as some may fail to work.

Lighting controls are easy to operate because they are automated. And if you want to drastically reduce your center’s energy consumption, they are your best bet.

The lighting controls that work well with convention center LED lights are:



Dimmers alter the light levels depending on the amount of light needed. They decrease and increase the light output of LEDs without affecting their performance. They can save a lot of energy by reducing the output from 100% to 0.5% in unoccupied spaces.

Occupancy Sensors

Occupancy sensors can detect sound and motion. They turn off lights if a specific area has not been occupied for a certain period. As soon as they sense movement, they turn them back on. These sensors can help convention centers realize energy savings of 35%-45%.


Daylight harvesting systems such as photosensors (photocells) turn convention center lights on or off based on the available natural light. When natural light levels go above a certain amount, the photocells regulate the lights and reduce their output.

Time Schedulers

Time clock controls alter the output of light according to the time of day. At particular times, the lights will be dimmed or turned on or off to save energy. These controls are best suited for open spaces that are occupied regularly or intermittently, especially where the lighting runs for long hours.

Lumens per Watt (lm/W)

Lumens per watt is the amount of visible light produced for a single watt of electricity. Over the years, the lighting efficacy of LEDs has been improving from 85-95 lm/W to 150-200 lm/W. Some LED manufacturers are now producing LEDs which emit over 200 lumens per watt. And without a doubt, these LEDs will help convention centers to save even more money.

Lumens per Watt Logo

Correlated Color Temperature (CCT)

LED convention center lights are available in different color temperatures. Some have a CCT of 2700K and produce warm white light, others have a CCT of 3000K and generate soft white light, while others have a CCT of 5000K and emit bright white light. Those with a CCT of 6500K produce daylight-white light. The higher the CCT, the brighter the light. The recommended CCT for convention center lights is 3000K-4100K because the light is brighter and cleaner.

Color Rendering Index (CRI)

Because convention centers are retail environments, the light sources must have a good color rendering index. Most LEDs have a good CRI of 75 and above. For convention centers, choose LEDs with a CRI of not less than 80 as it’s considered an excellent CRI. The lights will positively influence the purchasing decisions of buyers – because they will be able to see displayed products in their natural colors.

LED Color Rendering Index (CRI)

Beam Angle

The LED high-bay and HID-replacement lights used in convention centers come with different beam angles. The high-bay lights are available with 60°, 90° and 120° angles while the LED HID-replacement lights can be modified to achieve beam angles of 180°, 270° and 360°. Depending on whether you need a narrow spread or a wide spread of light, you can use a smaller or a larger beam angle.

Fixture Appearance

Some LED fixtures have an unconventional look. Flat-topped fixtures have a tendency to accumulate dirt. When choosing your LED fixtures, ensure that they won’t easily collect dirt by carefully examining their designs.


Even though LEDs are high-quality light sources, they aren’t all the same – which is why you should make sure that you get the best. The warranty usually tells of the quality of the lights. Most manufacturers provide a 5-year warranty while a few give a 10-year warranty. The longer the warranty, the higher the quality. It need not be said that LEDs warrantied for longer offer more years of service.


Types of Convention Center LED Lights

UFO High-bay Light

A UFO LED high-bay light is a disc-shaped luminaire featuring flat aluminum housing. It contains optics that are particularly designed to optimize light distribution without the need for bulky reflectors.

The lights have different beams which help focus and direct light better. You can get them with 60°, 90° and 120° beam angles. UFO LED high-bay lights are compact and efficient and have aesthetic appeal, improving the appearance of convention centers.

They are the perfect choice for large spaces that require a high amount of light like convention centers. The LED lights contain amazing thermal properties. The negligible heat that they produce is easily dispersed by their aluminum alloy heat sinks.

LED Magnetic-Strip Retrofit Kits

LED magnetic-strips can replace any linear lighting fixture and completely do away with the need for ballasts and tombstones. They eradicate the need to wire energy to tombstones. These lights quickly replace fluorescent lamps and offer bright long-lasting light.

They are designed to replace fluorescents in troffer fixtures. The lights and their drivers usually have magnetic backing, allowing you to stick them to the metallic interiors of lighting fixtures. No tools, sockets, or screws are required.

Compared to LED tubes, LED strips are easier to install. Instead of having to connect the wiring to individual sockets, you only need to wire the energy to the driver. To connect the strips, you simply plug them into the driver using quick-connect cables. For a 4-light fixture, instead of wiring four sockets for LED tubes, you simply wire one driver for LED magnetic-strip lights.

These lights are the fastest and easiest fluorescent troffer replacements on the market. Irrespective of the type of ballast your troffer has, how many tubes it holds, or its size, magnetic LED strip lights offer a simple and complete retrofit solution for the troffers in your convention center – running on energy-efficient, state-of-the-art, and long-lasting LED technology.

    1. LED HID-replacement Kit

      The high intensity discharge lights which are commonly used in convention centers are metal halide and high pressure sodium lamps. These lights consume tremendous amounts of energy, contain dangerous substances, and have low-quality light.

      The solution? LED HID-replacement lights. They are a long-lasting and economical solution to traditional lighting. Inefficient HID lamps can finally be removed from convention centers for good.

      LED HID-replacement lights are functional and practical. They can be used in several installations including high-bay installations. These lights are designed for both ballast bypass and ballast compatible installations.

      They are flexible and offer beam angle adjustments. They feature panels which direct light where it is required. The panels can be easily adjusted to achieve 180°, 270° and 360° light output. The lights have a standard screw-in base which makes installation easy.

LED Downlight-retrofit

LED downlight-retrofits can be easily installed into existing recessed housings in the ceiling, making the transition a quick and easy process. They offer bright and focused light. LED downlights give you all the amazing benefits of LED technology including high-quality illumination, energy efficiency, a long lamp life, and a wide range of color temperatures.

The quantity of LED downlights required for a convention center depends on the beam angles of the lights. A large beam angle offers a wide spread of light while a small beam angle provides a narrow spread of light.

LED recessed lighting retrofit kits from My LED Lighting Guide can replace your recessed fluorescent lighting downlights and help you realize electricity savings of up to 75%.

LED Wall-Packs

WallPack lights, which are also called exterior building lights, are usually installed on the exterior walls of buildings. They are normally installed on the outer walls of commercial buildings and illuminate the areas next to buildings where vehicles and pedestrians frequent. Wall-pack lights are also installed on walkways, driveways, and streets that are situated next to buildings and mounted on lighting poles.

And while the main role of these lights is to make exteriors safe by producing sufficient light, they are also used in the beautification of exteriors. Some wall-pack lights feature unique, modern designs and can light up outdoor spaces and add natural detailing.

There are four main types of wall-pack lights:

Full Cutoff

The lighting fixtures are only open at the bottom and fully covered on all sides. The light is tightly controlled, hence light trespass is considerably reduced or eliminated.

Semi Cutoff

These lighting fixtures are slightly covered at the front and distribute light downwards and upwards (to some extent). They can be used to offer light to a specific area.

Up and Down

These light fixtures distribute light downwards and upwards, only down, or only up. When installed on exterior walls, they create symmetrical lighting patterns or highlight specific features.


These lights have a full or a semi cutoff design as well as a tilt mechanism that enables accurate light aiming. They are ideal for perimeter lighting in outdoor areas.


LED Shoebox-Lights

LED shoebox-lights are rectangular shaped lights (in the shape of a shoebox) that are normally used in parking lots. The lights come in a myriad of wattages, ranging from 50 to 600 watts. They can produce more than 80,000 lumens, perfectly illuminating a parking lot.

The biggest benefit of these lights is that they fill up large areas with bright, even lighting. Since they are used in areas where safety and security are paramount, they enable security features to work effectively.

LED shoebox-lights make perfect replacements for HID shoebox and area lights. They offer up to 75% energy savings, helping you to save thousands of dollars you would have spent on maintenance for HID lamps – including bulb and ballast replacements.

Benefits our LED Lights Offer

LED Convention Center Lighting

Energy Efficiency

LED convention center lights are highly efficient. Most convention centers realize up to 75% energy savings after replacing old lighting technology. Considering that convention center lights operate for several hours a day, centers can save thousands of dollars in electricity bills.

Smart LED fixtures feature daylight harvesting and presence detection systems which further reduce the amount of energy consumed. The daylight harvesting features have the capacity to dim or turn light on and off in response to daylight availability. Presence detection sensors switch the lights on when there’s any movement and switch them off when there’s none.

LEDs generate much less heat than other light sources. This keeps the temperature in the convention center low and reduces the need for air conditioning. Less air conditioning results in less energy use.

Almost Zero Maintenance

Another feature of LEDs that saves convention centers tons of money is they hardly require maintenance over their lifespan. They have a long rated life of 50,000-100,000 hours, meaning that you won’t have to worry about replacing them often.

Convention centers that have upgraded to LED technology are enjoying savings because of the low maintenance costs. Replacing lamps, ballasts, transporting them, not to mention the labor involved consume time and money that could be better spent on other important areas.

Superior Performance

Convention center LED lights produce high-quality light. The importance of this cannot be undermined for a convention center. During exhibitions, light enhances product appeal, capturing customers’ attention. They can properly examine the details, textures, and colors of various products.

Good illumination also gives visitors a positive impression about the venue and brand. It positively influences the purchasing behavior of customers, leading to more sales for businesses. Bright light also provides a clean and fresh appearance. It makes the venue attractive and visitors are able to enjoy events more.

High Color Rendering Indexes (CRI)

LEDs have high color rendering indexes and make objects appear as they do under natural light. In convention centers, the exhibited products and venue look good because of the high CRI.

Lights with a CRI of 80 and above make the colors of the displayed products to pop and the textures to stand out. They look more attractive and people are able to see the details better. Exhibitors may make more sales and the convention center may get repeat business.

Improves Mood and Behavior

LED lighting mimics natural light in certain aspects. It can positively affect the mood and behavior of human beings. Studies have revealed that human beings are most alert and their mood is enhanced when the lighting in a space is bright enough.

Low-quality lighting causes headaches, eye fatigue, and lethargy. Convention center LED lighting has the right temperature to improve the mood of attendees for successful events with better engagement and interaction.

Instant Brightness

Convention center LED lights provide instant brightness. They do not have a restrike time; when you switch them off, you can switch them on again immediately. In case the power goes off suddenly during an event, event attendees are not covered in darkness. Also, turning them on and off frequently does not affect their performance, which is very common with fluorescent lamps.

Flexible and Controllable

LEDs are compatible with lighting control systems like dimmers and occupancy sensors. You can easily integrate the controls in an already existing LED lighting system or buy lights with pre-installed controls. Lighting controls help to further enhance energy efficiency. Some LEDs are tunable and have different color temperatures to create the right atmosphere for each time of the day.

Focused Lighting

LED lighting is directional and focuses light exactly where it is required. During an exhibition, different LED lights can be used to illuminate different areas of the convention center. Some lights can highlight the products to make them more appealing to visitors.


Convention center LED lights are eco-friendly. They are free of toxic chemicals like mercury and sodium which are found in fluorescent lamps and HID lamps. After their useful life is over, LEDs end up in recycling plants as opposed to landfills. They reduce an organization’s carbon footprint because they require very little electricity to operate.

Light Uniformity

LEDs produce uniform light. The light is just enough and does not create shadows or dark spots. This means that all areas of the convention center will be bright. Accidents and other dangers are eliminated by LED lights.

Talk To Us about Your Convention Center Lighting Upgrade!

LED Convention


Thinking about replacing your old lighting with highly efficient convention center LED lighting?

Our Convention Center LED lighting easily replaces fluorescent and metal halide lamps. To save even more money, you can pair them with dimming and occupancy sensor controls. Our wealth of knowledge and experience enable us to offer the best professional advice. Call us today for a free consultation.

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