Fantastic Caverns is replacing over 290 incandescent lights with light emitting diodes (LED.)
Compared to traditional lighting, LEDs reduce maintenance and energy consumption 70-90 percent. Traditional bulbs convert 10 percent of energy into light, while 90 percent is released as heat. Whereas LEDs convert 95 percent of energy into light and dissipate heat.
Within caverns, the heat produced by incandescent lights can encourage the growth of “lamp flora,” which includes a variety of moss and algae, among other things, which is disruptive to a cavern’s natural environment.
Caves, with lightless passages and damp humid air, present challenges to touring, but LEDs offer great benefits to cave tourism. LEDs experience “lumen depreciation,” a gradual reduction in light output, as opposed to a sudden burn out like incandescent bulbs.
Even in difficult natural conditions, LEDs operate more effectively than traditional light bulbs.
Kevin Pratt, of Fantastic Caverns, collaborated with Stacy Estes, of Ozark Electric Cooperative, to secure a business lighting rebate to assist with the cost of the update.
“The rebates, a lot of times, are just kind of the icing on the cake; it’s almost like a win-win,” said Estes.
With Fantastic Caverns’ LED conversion, Estes estimated that by reducing the watts per bulb around 85 percent, the cave would save roughly $6,700 in energy costs per year.
Pratt sourced LED lights for the cave from Chris Hanner, of Batteries Plus Bulbs. When looking to make the switch, Hanner suggested trying out a few LEDs to “make sure what you’re getting is what you want.”
Working with Hanner, Pratt was interested in color quality, light output and light distribution and selected LEDs that best highlighted the formations.
Fantastic Caverns, America’s only ride-through cave, is a family-owned attraction located in Springfield. The staff and management of the popular tourist destination work to preserve the cave and its fragile ecosystem so it will be in place for future generations to enjoy.
For more information about Fantastic Caverns, please call (417) 833-2010 or visit fantasticcaverns.com.
4872 N. Farm Road 125
Springfield, MO 65803