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Philips restores iconic Boston tower with energy-efficient LED lighting


Burlington, MA, USA – Boston’s first official skyscraper, the Marriott Custom House Tower, has undergone a long-awaited lighting makeover to reclaim its skyline prominence in a smart and sustainable way. Formerly lit by incandescent-based fixtures that had fallen into disrepair, the Tower has been restored to its fully-illuminated state using LED fixtures that consume just one third the energy of the previous sources. The permanent installation was unveiled in October as part of illuminaleBOSTON 08 – a five-day, citywide lighting festival founded by Lana Nathe of Light Insight Design Studio.

The Tower’s lighting scheme was conceptualized by Lam Partners Inc., who had also designed the former lighting treatment 20 years ago. Since that time great progress has been made in energy-efficient and longer-life sources, particularly LEDs. The design team chose new LED-based lighting fixtures from Philips Color Kinetics that, in addition to consuming less energy, require far less maintenance with a projected lifetime of more than 20 years at six hours of use per day. An approximate total of 125 eW® Blast Powercore and eW Graze Powercore fixtures now illuminate the Tower from the 17th floor to the peak, while energy-efficient metal halide fixtures from Philips Lightolier illuminate the building’s base.

“We’re thrilled to work on a project of this magnitude, bringing such an important building back to its rightful luminous place among the Boston skyline,” said Brad Koerner, Project Designer at Lam Partners. “To achieve this kind of architectural application with white LED technology would have been unthinkable even just a year ago. Today the long life and efficiency of white LED sources will open up new possibilities for sustainable urban lighting.”

The former incandescent light fixtures were essentially replaced one-for-one in their existing locations and mountings, demonstrating the adaptability of the new LED fixtures. They incorporate Philips’ proprietary Powercore® technology to directly accept line voltage, which eliminates the need for external low-voltage power supplies and special cabling that were historically required to run LED fixtures. Both the LED and metal halide fixtures generate warm white light that closely matches the desired look of the former incandescent sources.

“This is a milestone installation in that it prominently showcases the arrival of LED systems for general illumination. We have taken LED technology from the billboards of Times Square to large-scale architectural floodlighting – an incredible step towards further reducing energy use in our cities,” said Jeff Cassis, CEO, Philips Color Kinetics. “We’re proud to light this local landmark while also making Boston an example for other cities to follow; both in our uniquely beautiful skyline and the energy-efficient way that we illuminate it.”

Additional information about illuminaleBOSTON 08 is available at

Digital images are available upon request.

Copyright © 2008 Philips Solid-State Lighting Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Royal Philips Electronics

Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) is a diversified Health and Well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through timely innovations. As a world leader in healthcare, lifestyle and lighting, Philips integrates technologies and design into people-centric solutions, based on fundamental customer insights and the brand promise of “sense and simplicity”. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips employs approximately 128,000 employees in more than 60 countries worldwide. With sales of EUR 27 billion in 2007, the company is a market leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as lifestyle products for personal well-being and pleasure with strong leadership positions in flat TV, male shaving and grooming, portable entertainment and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located at


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