Doing good
Ephesus Wants to Turn the Sporting World Bright Green
Free Enterprise Staff | May 28, 2014

“At Ephesus, you feel good about what you’re doing. It’s a socially responsible company with a socially responsible product,” says Mike Lorenz, president of Ephesus Lighting. “There’s a lot of interest in adopting greener technology but it has to make business sense.”

Ephesus, based in Syracuse New York, believes that its LED lighting fixtures are not only better for the environment, but also better for the bottom line.

“I’ve been an entrepreneur for probably 35 years and I’ve never seen a lighting alternative that made business sense like LED technology,” Lorenz told Free Enterprise. “I got involved in (LED) lighting because I thought it was a great idea.”

Ephesus provides commercial-grade lighting solutions for sporting arenas and warehouse facilities. The lights themselves are produced in New York State and are described by Lorenz as “plug and play.” An entire arena can be outfitted inside of a week and the installation isn’t likely to require a maintenance visit. The lights themselves also offer a more uniform and consistent blanket of light.

Developed more than a half-century ago, LEDs—or light emitting diodes— have become an increasingly ubiquitous lighting source over the past few years. A byproduct of semiconductor technology, LEDs are significantly more efficient and have a far greater lifespan than their incandescent counterparts.

The venues that utilize Ephesus’s lighting host approximately 3,000 hours worth of events per year. At this rate, Lorenz claims that it would take nearly 85 years for his LED installations  to lose all of their power.

This extended lifespan is particularly impressive when compared to high intensity discharge (HID) light fixtures. The most commonly used lighting technology at U.S. arenas; HIDs begin to lose power after 2-3 years of regular use.

These kinds of efficiency and longevity gains help drastically reduce maintenance and energy costs, says Lorenz, saving venues anywhere between $70,000 and $125,000 per year.

Lorenz explained that the pricing is done on a project-by-project basis. While the installation of LEDs may be more expensive initially — ranging anywhere between $150 and 350K — the goal of Ephesus is to save the venue money within the 2nd year of lighting use.

Ephesus’s fixtures also boast the ability to turn on and off instantly with no warm-up period.

Despite launching as recently as 2010, Ephesus already outfits several mid-sized sports venues and plans to officially release an outdoor package in the coming months.

“Although we have a very robust offering of industrial LED lighting solutions, sports venues provided us a high profile stage to showcase the advances in LED and offer an LED lighting solution that was not being filled by any other company,” said Lorenz.

To date, Ephesus provides the lighting for Webster Bank Arena, in Bridgeport, Connecticut; Broome Country Arena, in Binghamton, NY; BMO Harris Bank Center, in Rockford, IL; William D. Mullins Center at UMASS Amherst; and the Ricoh Coliseum, in Toronto.

Ephesus also lights its hometown venue, the War Memorial at Oncenter Arena. This facility serves as the home ice for the AHL’s Crunch, which is owned by Howard Dolgon, Ephesus’s chief marketing officer.

Now that it’s conquered the mid-size arena market, Ephesus has its eye on larger venues. Instead of 8,000-seat stadiums, Lorenz says that the company is on track to penetrate the largest segment of the U.S. arena market, typified by a stadium like New Jersey’s Prudential Center—which can accommodate 18,500 spectators.

“Once the rest of the sports arena community saw the benefits (of LED fixtures) they helped us begin a lighting revolution,” says Lorenz.

Though Lorenz certainly understands that Ephesus’s steady growth is thanks in large part to the long-term financial benefit of its product line, he is “pleasantly surprised by the commitment that corporate America and universities are making to sustainability.”

To Lorenz, this commitment is more important than financial gains.

“As Americans, we are going to keep using energy. We aren’t going to give it up. So we need to be more efficient,” Lorenz says.