Graybar Brings New Light and Energy Solutions to Powell Hall

Graybar Brings New Light and Energy Solutions to Powell Hall


Known as one of the world’s finest concert halls, Powell Hall has served as home to the St. Louis Symphony since 1968. Its design mimics that of European elegance and has been praised by musicians and critics alike for its warm, traditional feel and ability to capture the rich sounds of instruments.

Recently, the historic building was in need of an upgrade. Poor lighting surrounding the stairs and walkways and the unequal distribution of light created glares and dark spots. The Symphony also faced challenges with lights being left on in unoccupied areas.


When word got out the Symphony’s staff was looking to retrofit, Graybar PowerSmart® Energy Specialist Kate DeWulf knew Graybar, a leading distributor of high-quality electrical, communications and data networking products and related supply chain management and logistics services, could deliver. Working closely with her team, DeWulf set up a meeting with the Symphony’s director and a product demonstration for board members. High-priority areas for the staff included having products that worked well with high ceilings, keeping the building’s traditional feel and installing new lighting comparable to that of a sunset.

“For their customers, it’s all about the feel and look of the environment they experience when they walk into the Symphony, and that’s what Graybar helped them achieve,” said DeWulf.

Keeping the customer’s specific needs in mind, DeWulf drafted a lighting assessment summary that gave the staff a detailed breakdown of potential savings areas, including projected watts saved, energy saved and money saved. In addition to significant cost and energy savings, the retrofit also qualified for several energy rebates and incentives, which DeWulf helped coordinate for the Symphony.

The Symphony’s staff ultimately decided on various 5-watt LED 2700 Kelvin dimmable globes, capable of dimming down to 5 percent without flickering. WattStopper occupancy controls were installed to help reduce kilowatt usage in unoccupied areas.


By installing the new fixtures, the Symphony is projected to save more than $15,000 in energy savings and more than 40,000 total watts after one year of use. After accounting for the available rebates and incentives, the final cost to upgrade was roughly one-third of the original projected cost. Overall, the project is expected to save the Symphony more than $200,000 over the next 10 years, with the longest payback on investment taking only 10 months.

While the energy savings and rebates are nice, DeWulf says it goes much further than that.

“For the Symphony, this project offers much more than energy savings,” said DeWulf. “They finally have a longer-lived product installed that restores the sophistication of the theater.”

Why Graybar PowerSmart®? Graybar offers many services to support your sustainability and energy-efficiency goals, from energy audits to recycling. Where appropriate, we work with companies that specialize in specific sustainability programs to enable you to receive the best solutions for your individual needs.

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