The lighting industry is currently undergoing a revolution as energy saving becomes a top priority. Ian Major, Product and Marketing Manager at Havells-Sylvania, offers an overview of the available lamp technology and some advice for the confused.
As is widely known, many countries are now phasing out the use of traditional incandescent light bulbs to save energy. Although the incandescent lamp has been around since it was invented by Thomas Edison back in 1878, it is not particularly energy efficient as a light source; only 10% of the energy generated by an incandescent lamp goes into creating light, the other 90% is wasted in heat. There are now more energy efficient products available and legislation is now in place to make sure people use them.
The lighting industry has evolved accordingly and many companies have developed new products to meet the demand for better energy performance. With the introduction of LED light sources a lot of new manufacturers have joined the market and there is now a bewildering array of options to choose from. This diversity comes with an equally varied range of quality and price. In this area, where safety is paramount, a reputable manufacturer should always be the first purchasing consideration. Alongside that, an understanding of the performance and characteristics of the various available product types is important to make informed specification decisions.
The three main lamp types that aoffer energy efficiency and performance; LEDs (light-emitting diodes) CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps and) and tungsten halogen.
LED lamps are hugely popular at the moment as they are energy efficient, long lasting and versatile. They are available in various shapes, intensities, beam angles and colours. Their small dimensions and easy connectivity make them popular in applications where creativity needs to combine with easy to install lighting effects. LED lamps give you a lot of light for your energy and they can be more than four times as efficient as their incandescent counterparts. Also, unlike some other types of energy saving lamps, LEDs can produce instant warm, soothing light the moment you switch them on. Our range of retroﬁt LED lamps come in a variety of decorative shapes and caps, offering 100% compatibility and one-to-one replacement within the majority of existing installations
They are the result of traditional ﬂuorescent lamp making skills which have created a range of retroﬁt lamps that will directly replace incandescent mains voltage lamps. CFLs are available in a wide range of shapes and formats to meet the growing need for compact, energy efficient performance. They offer a comprehensive range of light source solutions giving long life, high colour rendering and constant light output throughout their life. We recently introduced a third generation of our Micro-Lynx Fast Start lamp, which has an average rated life of 10,000 hours.
Halogen lamps are known for excellent colour rendering and a cool crisp white light. This makes them the preferred light source for decorative, accent and general lighting. They can operate on mains voltage (230V-240V) or low voltage (12V) supplies. Mains voltage halogen lamps operate without the need for a transformer, and can be dimmed: making them quick and easy to install, simple to operate with a subsequent lowering of installation and user costs, up to 30% with some lamps. Low voltage halogen lamps operate on step-down transformers, to lower mains voltage to approximately 12V and are also dimmable. High light intensity and long life make them an ideal lamp for accent lighting, task lighting and spotlight applications. We offer a wide range of energy saving halogen lamps to cater both domestic and professional application in mains and low voltage categories. All are designed to meet current safety regulations and standards and deliver best performance to exceed customer expectations.
The public and the lighting industry are understandably excited about LEDs, as the technology promises to deliver a lot in terms of reducing the carbon footprint. This has created a great demand for LED products that is increasingly being fuelled by manufacturers aggressively marketing their products in an attempt to accelerate usage. In fact, although LED occupies 95% of the column inches on lighting these days it actually represents only 5% of total turnover in lamp products. The benefits of LED have to be balanced with the fact that the products are relatively expensive and the technology is still evolving. However, over the course of their life time LED’s more than pay for themselves due to the lower operating costs.
Halogen offers excellent quality of light with perfect colour rendition. The lamps are dimmable and offer full intensity the moment they are switched on and generally last twice as long as the now banned incandescent types. That said, using halogen comes with a price - heat generation and power consumption – which many are beginning to view as undesirable. CFLs are more than four times as efficient as incandescent light bulbs while lasting up to ten times longer. An additional advantage is that they can be used in almost all of the locations where incandescent lamps are currently used. However, they not always suitable for dimming and they are can’t be used as spotlights, so they do have their drawbacks.
LEDs are obviously an attractive choice, especially so at the very top end of the market – where they may even be expected. The hype around LEDs is unlikely to die down, but as a manufacturer of all types of lamp, including LEDs, we are in the position of an ‘honest broker’. LEDs are an expensive option and their price alone may put them beyond the budget of many. All the while this is the case, it is clear there is a lot of mileage left in existing technologies.
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