Sunday, September 17, 2017

A King, a Palace, and LEDs

Many historic sites are in great homes that were built and owned by those with passionate interests in the latest technologies for their time. The James J. Hill House and Glensheen Mansion, both in Minnesota, come to mind. So does Hawai'i's Iolani Palace: King David Kalakaua's home had electricity in 1886, five years before The White House did, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser's recent article (the interior photo in the paper is the shot to see!).

In keeping with the King's interest in electricity and innovation, that staff have replaced one thousand incandescents with 4.5-watt LEDs throughout the building. The Palace staff and a consultant tested multiple versions, ultimately finding the approach that provided the color and appearance appropriate for the 1886 site.

Now, visitors can see the details of the marvelous interior and the collections materials so much more easily without risk of UV exposure from the lights or from added light through open windows. Meanwhile the Palace saves $1200 a month in energy bills while fully-supporting its educational mission. The program was paid for by a grant from the legislature and a rebate through the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

I had seen this developing during my last visits to Iolani Palace, and noted another smart choice as well: all guests and staff wore some form of booties to protect the floors in the main areas of the Palace. These shown at the right are the reusable ones we guests slipped on before our visit. Think how much energy, time, and cleaning and refinishing materials they save by using these to protect the restored floors and carpeting. And think, too, how much waste they avoid each year by having reusables rather than single-use booties! That matters anywhere, and even more on an island. Mahalo nui loa, Iolani Palace staff!

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