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How Are The Nighttime Colors Of Buildings Decided?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - Friday is Go Red for Women Day, a day to increase awareness of women's heart health. That's why people in Minneapolis will see lots of landmarks, bridges and buildings lit up in red.

It's just one of the many colors people can see on Minneapolis skyscrapers on any given night. So, how are the night-time colors decided? Good Question.

"Our property team sits down on a monthly basis and we create a lighting calendar," says Nathan Reed, general manager of the Capella Tower, which has 52 LED lights that reflect off the glass panels of the crown.

Reed says they recognize holidays, local events like Vikings games and new tenants to the building. They'll also take cues from the 35W and Lowry Bridge lighting schedules. In addition, the Capella Tower will take requests from non-profits to bring awareness to their cause.

The 600,000 LED light display atop of the Target Plaza South tower is programmed based on the seasons, local sporting events and moments tied to Target's business, according to a spokesperson. On a recent Tuesday night, that display showed greens and blues, meant to signify the Northern Lights.

Nine years ago, the lights atop the IDS were replaced with LEDs, making it an easily programmable system, according to Deb Kolar, general manager of the IDS Center. She says that building celebrated holidays, big local sporting events and civic and non-profit organizations.

The LED lights atop the 31st floor of the US Bancorp Center were added in 2018 and are programmed easily from a touchpad.

That building's management team looks at holidays, major local events, charitable functions happening at their building and non-profits to decide the lighting schedule, according to David Ketcham, general manager of the US Bancorp Center. Their default colors are blue and white to signify that main tenant in their building, U.S. Bank.

Most downtown building lights go dark from midnight to 6 a.m. That's partly to protect birds during migrating season and not provide distraction to downtown residents. It's also a way for the buildings to meet their energy standards.

Ketcham says the energy-efficient lights don't use a lot of energy, but "enough and you want to curb every ounce of energy you can in order to meet the standards."

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