Professional tennis evolves and so has the lighting and control system used for the game’s premier tournament. The lighting was last retrofitted on Centre Court at Wimbledon when a retractable roof was installed in 2009. A second serve at the lighting took place this year, as the slow-start, high-energy HID lighting was replaced with LED fixtures, and upgraded to a Lutron Quantum Total Light Management system with Quantum Vue facility management software.
As would be expected with the refurbishment of a 90-year-old building, the lighting scheme had to overcome a variety of challenges, including lighting one of the lowest roof spaces in any professional sports venue worldwide and meeting the high illuminance levels required by the BBC for its high-definition coverage of the event. An additional requirement specified by The All England Lawn Tennis Club was to ensure an easy-to-use, fail-safe way of controlling the lighting for championship and non-championship matches, whether the roof was open or closed. In 2017, this iconic tennis venue upgraded the lighting again. As a result, Centre Court lighting is more responsive, can be turned on and off with no delay or warm-up time, and is flicker-free in real time as well as during slow-motion replay.
Originally, ME Engineers worked with the architect, Populous, and the client, and introduced the technique of indirect sports lighting. What was discovered was that by reflecting some of the light off the roof itself, a layer of diffused light could be added to blanket the court and reduce the number of direct luminaires required, therefore minimizing glare for spectators and viewers. ME Engineers was called on again for the new lighting and determined that the LED fixtures would only be as good as their ability to be meticulously programmed and controlled.
ME Engineers was able to utilize the original GRAFIK XP dimming panels, while upgrading the processors, and installing an improved Graphical User Interface (GUI) that simplifies changes and offers cleaner, crisper graphics.