Turtle-friendly fiber-optics

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.

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