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San Diego, California
San Diego Convention Center


With a beautiful downtown location on the Bayfront, the San Diego Convention Center is one of the premiere convention grounds in North America. The Center holds 525,701 square feet of open space in the lower halls, which were previously lit with fluorescent tube fixtures that totaled over 450,000 watts of power.

Convention halls pose a unique challenge for lighting designers. At the end of the day, a convention hall needs to be able to offer its customers the best facilities in order to attract the biggest shows. Lighting plays a huge role in not only lowering energy costs, but also adding value through ambiance, safety, and overall customer experience. Convention events require quality lighting to showcase exhibition material and create a dynamic, broadcast-ready environment.

Lighting control is another challenge for modern convention centers. For facilities to be able to offer the best services, it’s essential to provide a secure solution to manage a large num- ber of fixtures while maintaining individual fixture control.

Above all else, reliability is the most important aspect of convention lighting. Failed fixtures and problematic controls pose huge maintenance costs and potential loss of business. Packed show schedules offer little time to fix problems, forc- ing conventions to overpay in order to repair lights in a short amount of time. The damages caused by such failures have a huge impact on customer loyalty, and are often financially devastating. Keeping these key factors in mind, the URSA team was up for the challenge.

  • Helios 240W

URSA’s high color rendering index (CRI) lighting vastly improved the quality of light for both exhibitors and event goers alike, creating a vibrant show environment ready for the cameras.

Our Solution

URSA kicked off the project with a lighting simulation and full analysis. The Helios 240W was selected for the job due to its powerful light output and low wattage consumption. Switching to the Helios 240W not only increased light levels and uniformity, but the energy savings allowed a project ROI of under two years. Additionally, URSA’s high color rendering index (CRI) lighting vastly improved the quality of light for both exhibitors and event goers alike, creating a vibrant show environment ready for the cameras.

After settling on the lighting design, URSA set out to create a responsive and reliable control solution to manage the impressive 1183 lights in the lower halls. URSA’s solution offered complete lighting control, with customizable groups that allowed for on-the-fly adjustments all the way down to the individual fixture level. URSA’s control system allowed for mobile, computer, and physical switch control, and came complete with two separate backup control options for emergencies. The new system granted a level of control that was not possible with the old fluorescent tube fixtures. Ultimately, URSA’s improved lighting and granular control greatly increased the value that the San Diego Convention Center can offer its customers.

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