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Turtle-friendly fiber-optics

Dec. 1, 2003
Designers of a new outdoor lighting project at a time-share resort in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., sought to make life more pleasant for both humans and turtles.

Designers of a new outdoor lighting project at a time-share resort in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., sought to make life more pleasant for both humans and turtles. The solution was fiber-optic lighting. The resort, called The Beach Place Marriott Time Share Resort and Shopping Center, looks out on the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, the site fell under the "Turtle Law," which states that direct lighting cannot be used on structures directly across from or facing the ocean because such light attracts sea turtles to land, where they have a higher likelihood of being harmed.

To create a distinctive look only a turtle could ignore, Ft. Lauderdale-based lighting design firm Paul Morgan Lighting Designs used 2,500 linear feet of Fiberstars fiber-optic tubing powered by 19 150-watt HID illuminators. He had U-shaped channels installed underneath the leading edge of the stairs to create a cove-light effect consistent with indirect and cove lighting used on the Beach Place buildings. The lower-output illuminators and lower-density tubing created a softer form of indirect light, defining the stairs while maintaining compliance with the turtle legalities. The system is set up to illuminate the tubing with different colors each night of the week, making it both an architectural and a decorative element.

About the Author

Doug Chandler | Senior Staff Writer

Doug has been reporting and writing on the electrical industry for Electrical Wholesaling and Electrical Marketing since 1992 and still finds the industry’s evolution and the characters who inhabit its companies endlessly fascinating. That was true even before e-commerce, LED lighting and distributed generation began to disrupt so many of the electrical industry’s traditional practices.

Doug earned a BA in English Literature from the University of Kansas after spending a few years in KU’s William Allen White School of Journalism, then deciding he absolutely did not want to be a journalist. In the company of his wife, two kids, two dogs and two cats, he spends a lot of time in the garden and the kitchen – growing food, cooking, brewing beer – and helping to run the family coffee shop.

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