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Ephesus pioneers stadium LED lights for Syracuse racetrack

Ryan Delaney
Ephesus president Joe Casper explains the technology behind his company's new stadium LED lighting.

With the slide of a dimmer switch, Syracuse-based Ephesus is hoping to turn stadiums on to the next big thing in lighting.

Friday morning, Ephesus president Joe Casper used high-tech LED lights to show off the shine on two antique cars at the state fairgrounds. 

“We are looking at the most advanced technology and that’s the thing that we’re so excited about with this,” he says.

Amount of time Casper and his team of engineers needed to design the lights?

Just eight weeks.

The industry standard right now for stadium lighting is metal halide lights. Casper claims that Ephesus is the only company in the world with an LED stadium light that can compete.

Scott Engberg, president of CHM Industries, says there has been a desire for LED stadium lights for a while, but nothing to match what’s out there has been put on the market yet. CHM builds and installs lighting systems in professional sports stadiums.

“Metal halides are efficient for how bright they are, but they don’t last very long,” says Engberg.

Casper claims his LED lights use 60 percent less energy, require less maintenance, and have less light pollution than metal halides. He also boasts that the brightness on his LED lights can quickly be changed - something older lights can’t do.

The challenge for Ephesus and others trying to produce stadium LED lights, says CHM’s Engberg, will be creating a system where a massive installation of LEDs won’t be needed to produce the same amount of light.

Track lighting

The new light’s first job will be illuminating soon-to-be-built Central New York Raceway in Oswego County. The track is owned by Glenn Donnelly, who has been involved in racing in the region for four decades.

Donnelly says when he found out about Ephesus and its local ties, he approached the firm about designing him lights.

“They’re the best when it comes to engineering,” Donnelly says of his experience working with Ephesus. “They know what they’re doing with lighting.”

Ephesus has already been approached by other potential clients, including several stadium owners in the United Kingdom, Casper says.

Ephesus currently has 15 employees, but Casper says that number will increase as they open their own manufacturing facility in Baldwinsville later this year. Right now they contract their light making to a company in the North Country.

“Being able to put it all together, assemble it, and build it [in] New York: that is what’s really neat about it,” Casper says.

WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail
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