16.02.2021 | Elation house lighting solution gives Tennessee church a fresh new look

S&L Integrated uses color-changing and color temperature-adjustable Fuze Pendant to raise the aesthetic at The First Family/ First Baptist Church.

A fresh wash of dynamic light from Elation Fuze Pendant house downlights has helped transform The First Family/ First Baptist Church's sanctuary from a more ordinary space with uneven illumination to a modern-looking house of worship more reflective of today's contemporary worship.

Seeking to upgrade its more traditional house lighting to something more state of the art, The First Family/ First Baptist Church in Columbia, Tennessee, is a growing ministry with plans to remake its entire sanctuary lighting. Eager to get started on phase one of the project, church Tech Director Brady Ratzlaff and Worship Pastor Tim Hammond met with Nathan Tomberlin of integration company S&L Integrated (slintegratedsystems.com) about replacing their incandescent pendant house lights with something more up to date.

"Not only were they getting tired of changing bulbs, even when all the old incandescents were working there were dark spots everywhere in the sanctuary," Tomberlin says. "It didn't look good and they were ready to discuss ways to improve the space."

After a thorough review, Tomberlin suggested giving the room a more intimate feel by lowering and leveling the sanctuary's tiered lighting to create a faux ceiling that reduced the height of the lighting from an apex of 41 feet to around 22 feet. He then presented the church with two options: a system of low voltage lighting with a static color temperature of around 3200K; and a system of color-changing LED Fuze Pendants with color-temperature adjustment.

"The Elation option was superior because you can do more with it - you can adjust the color temperature and it was also brighter," Tomberlin states. "The biggest reason for choosing the Fuze Pendant was the fact that they could select the color temperature and make changes to that whenever they wished."

The Fuze Pendant is color temperature adjustable from 2,000 - 10,000K and houses a full spectrum 230W RGBWL array for washes of high CRI white light, subtle pastels or pure saturates. Silent with no fans, output is up to 11,000 lumens. "It's such a unique fixture with a designated channel for color temperature adjustment, separate of the RGBWL mixing. I love the separation," Tomberlin comments. "You can completely change the aesthetic of a room while still giving people plenty of light."

All new aesthetic
Elation Market Manager Bob Mentele laid out the entire system, and specified the number of fixtures and lenses needed. By using already existing cladding hooks in the ceiling, 46 Fuze Pendants were installed quickly over a two-day period in late October with confirmation coming immediately on what a fresh coat of paint can do. "When the electricians were done and we turned on the lights, they were blown away! They weren't used to the brightness or quality of light or the fact there weren't any dark spots around the room."

Church Tech Director Brady Ratzlaff adds, "With the Fuze Pendants, we can individually control each fixture, which we couldn't do before. It allows us to add color accents throughout the room as needed for special events. The fixtures have also helped the congregation to see significantly better in the sanctuary without worrying about sitting in a dark area in the room."

Color temperature adjustable
Tomberlin says that once the fixtures were installed they began experimenting with the Fuze Pendant's different color temperatures. They started at the 3200K that they originally thought was their preferred color temperature and the level at which the static lighting option would have been. "We looked at the room under the 3200K light but they found that they preferred a higher color temp, something more around 3700 or 3800K, a bridge between warm white and cool white. They were thankful they went with the adjustable option and use it to change the feel of the room when needed."

The fact that the Fuze Pendant is LED was also an important factor in their choice, says Ratzlaff, saving money on bulb changes and power while requiring less maintenance. In fact, the church produced long-term calculations themselves on how they could save with an LED solution. "The calculations helped them weigh the decision," Tomberlin says. "They really took their time to see if the investment also made sense financially."

A perimeter ring of Fuze Pendants at an 18-ft trim is outfitted with 50-degree lenses while those in the middle, at a 22-foot trim, are fitted with the 45-degree factory lens. Tomberlin says he has measured light intensity at an even 40-41 foot-candles throughout the space.

Of course, the Fuze Pendant does more than just color temperature adjust. The fixture's RGBWL color-mixing system allows the church to add a decorative touch to activities such as youth events or color match with anything happening onstage. The house lighting upgrade does not impede on the stage lighting however, which remains completely consistent no matter what house lighting color, or color temperature, is chosen.

Tomberlin, who worked with Chuck Dillingham of Elation manufacturers' rep firm Freed Sales on the project, programmed a variety of color and color temperature looks for the church, which are easily accessed via a convenient wall-mounted button panel.

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