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Investment Lighting

May 31, 2005
Choosing the best light source for your building

Would you invest $20 today in exchange for a return of up to $40 each year? Of course you would! Yet, many building owners/operators ignore this investment opportunity when selecting the best source for lighting.

While some light sources may cost more initially, the resulting electrical and maintenance savings often equate to an impressive return on investment (see Comparing Costs of Operation, below).

Here are some facts to consider when choosing a light source, whether for a new building or retrofit:

Incandescent fixtures account for the largest percentage of lighting sales. However, incandescent ranks as the least energy-efficient light source, and is being used less and less by knowledgeable building owners/operators concerned about maintenance and operating costs.

  • Halogen offers a longer-life, more energy-efficient alternative to standard incandescent lamps. These factors - combined with the crisp, clean color of halogen - have made them a popular choice in contract and retail applications for display, task, and general lighting.

Fluorescent lamps are designed to meet a building’s luminary needs while significantly lowering operating costs. When compared to incandescent, fluorescent lasts up to 10-times longer and is up to 4-times more efficient.

  • T8 fluorescent lamps provide long life and high performance, which translates into reduced maintenance and disposal costs.
  • T5 fluorescent lamps offer more power, increased light output, and high system efficacy, in addition to long life and high lumen maintenance. New multi-lamp fixture designs offer a viable alternative to HID in hi-bay, low-bay, and retail applications.

High Intensity Discharge (HID)
HID lamps offer the highest efficiency, with more lumens per watt and the longest life-cycle.

  • Metal Halide lamps offer an energy-efficient alternative to incandescent and halogen, while providing better color rendering than other HID lamps.
  • High Pressure Sodium (HPS) ranks among the most efficient light sources available, with some of the most lumens per watt. It is ideal for outdoor and industrial applications where high efficiency is a priority, and color appearance is less important.
  • Low Pressure Sodium (LPS) is a highly efficient HID lamp not typically considered to be a practical light source for most building applications due to poor color rendering.
Philips Lighting & OSRAM Sylvania

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and Induction Lighting
LED technology is primarily used for traffic signals, signs, automotive, and specialty applications. As technology advances and costs drop, LEDs are emerging as a mainstream light source. Induction lighting has broadened their appeal with new advancements that offer incredibly long life-cycles and high lumen output. While presently at a cost premium, induction lighting provides exceptional maintenance savings, making it ideal for use in arenas and other difficult-to-reach applications.

Since lighting, on average, consumes half of the energy used in a typical building, energy-efficient lighting not only reduces operating costs, it also supports a clean and sustainable environment.

Howard Levine is president at Opa Locka, FL-based Luraline Products Co. (www.luraline.com).

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