Squash courts with dim, yellow lighting and glare have consistently plagued players and pros alike, while high electricity costs continue to burden court facilities. To correct the sport’s lighting issues and provide optimal visibility on court, longtime pro Lee Witham has introduced LED Squash Lighting, new energy-efficient, cost-effective lighting technology that’s a first for squash that eliminates glare and replicates daylight.
Committed to squash, Witham plans to reinvest revenues from LED Squash Lighting back to the sport to sponsor up-and-coming players and tournaments. Witham says his goal in business is always the “why factor” and to create a win-win situation. “The club is saving money and getting ideal light, the game receives needed support and most importantly, we move a step closer to offering protection to the environment,” said Witham.
Three years ago, Witham became a part owner of an LED manufacturing plant in Korea specializing in street lighting and office space applications and has worked closely with the manufacturer of LED backlights for Samsung TVs and smartphones to come up with the best lighting for squash. Witham has tested variations of the many LED flat panels on the market, but found they fell short on many fronts for the sport. Witham, who has been involved in squash for 30 years, determined that some products provided too much light which produced shadows, others were too bright — creating too much glare — and in some cases, the wattage was too high which reduced efficiency.
Witham’s LED Squash Lighting uses Samsung chips and Edge-Lit technology, which eliminates glare and produces light uniformity throughout the court, giving it a daylight feel. Witham compares the experience to watching LED TV. “Do you want more light or more clarity? LED brings out the actual colors you want to see,” said Witham.
The product is manufactured entirely in-house. Each flat panel is 1inch in height and constructed with aluminum and a hardened plastic to withstand ball impact. Engineers can offer 3-D photometrics to configure the correct lighting for each facility.
A typical fluorescent fixture in a squash court is 200 watts, whereas an LED light is 50 watts, a 75 percent lower electric consumption. By Witham’s calculations, squash courts in the U.S. use approximately 6.3 million watts per year, an estimated $1.65 million in electricity. Switching to LED lighting can reduce these numbers to 1.5 million watts and $412,000 in electrical consumption costs, according to Witham. LED Squash Lighting also carries DLC certification which enables facilities to earn state rebates of up to 90 percent. Another plus is that club owners no longer need to hire staff and put up scaffolding to replace lights on a regular basis.
Unlike current fluorescent lighting, LED lighting does not contain mercury and has a much smaller impact on the environment, and using little wasted heat, is far more efficient. Most electronics are produced to have short life cycles and end up in landfills. LED lighting, on the other hand, has long life cycles and can last 10 times longer than fluorescent bulbs and 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs. LED lighting does not produce infrared (IR) radiation or ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
This past fall, LED Squash Lighting was installed at the Westchester Country Club’s squash facility in Rye, NY, and members are more than pleased. Alister Walker, world ranked 38, tried them out. “I have been fortunate in recent months to have trained under the LED Squash Lights,” said Walker. “The light is uniform throughout and the anti-glare means overhead shots can be taken with ease. The lights are a massive step forward for court lighting and I can’t wait to see them on tour.”