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Feb 18, 2011

Industry still focused on reducing energy costs

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Reducing the energy costs associated with lighting has been the main driver of change in the lighting industry, while the new Consumer Protection Act, coming into effect on April 1, will see industry and consumers becoming more aware of the environment and energy-efficient lighting, says Illumination Engineering Society of South Africa Johannesburg division chairperson Patrick Stuckie.

“In 2011, the industrial and commercial sectors will strive to create new ways to reduce power consumption. Industry transformation involves upgrading older, inefficient lighting lamp technology such as T12 luminaires, high-intensity discharge lamps and fixtures, and mechanical ballasts with newer, more sophisticated solid-state T5 lamps and fixtures. T5 lamps are about 60% smaller than T12 lamps and provide a greater energy saving and life span of the lamps.

Incandescent lamps are also being replaced with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), while light-emitting diode (LED) technology will eventually replace most lamps. This will happen much faster than suggested by most lighting experts,” Stuckie explains.

He adds that larger international companies are constantly undertaking research and development to find better solutions for efficient lighting.

One of these solutions is induction lighting. Although the technology is not new and has not been successful in South Africa, Stuckie believes that induction lighting is worth consideration as it has a reported life span of between 50 000 and 100 000 hours. A common fluorescent lamp has a life span of 20 000 hours. It also reduces energy use by using electronic controls and needs less wattage to light up certain areas.

US-based manufacturer of induction lighting products US Lighting Tech’s website explains that the principle of induction was introduced to the world in the 1800s by Serbian-American physicist and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla. He invented fluorescent lighting, the Tesla induction motor, the Tesla coil and the ac electrical supply system.

“Induction lights are similar to fluorescent lights in that they use gasses, which, once excited, react with the phosphor that coats the tubes to produce white light. Unlike fluorescent lamps, induction systems are rated at 100 000 hours. This is because fluorescent lamps must use electrodes, which degrade with time, to excite the gases inside the tube. Induction lamps do not use electrodes but instead, transmit energy by way of a magnetic field,” reports US Lighting Tech.

Further, induction lighting has a colour rendering index (CRI) rating of 85, which is considered to be excellent. The highest rating is 100 CRI. CRI is a measure of the quality of light colour, devised by independent nonprofit organisation International Commission on Illumination, which is responsible for the international coordination of lighting-related technical standards.

Induction lighting has a colour temperature of between 2 700 Kelvin (K) and 6 500 K and an energy efficiency of 85 plus lumens for every watt. The luminaire reaches 70% of its light output at 100 000 hours, maintenance costs are low as the light can operate for ten years without being replaced, induction can be used with photocell or motion sensors and it has a high output of between 70 W and 400 W. There is also no flickering, strobing or noise, it has minimal colour shifting and the starting temperature is as low as -40°F.

Meanwhile, other energy-efficiency solutions include CFLs up to 160 W, which may be used in high bays and warehouses, and high-power LEDs. However, Stuckie explains that the costs of LEDs are still significantly high.

Improving Efficiency

For the best efficiency, Stuckie suggests the use of the new T5 fluorescent light in workspaces, instead of the older T12 and T8 technology, and the use of CFLs in living spaces for a more friendly ambiance.
Manufacturers of CFLs are required to comply with new safety and performance standards globally.

The standards specify the safety and interchangeability requirements, together with the test methods and conditions, required to show compliance of CFLs with an integrated means of controlling starting and stable operation (self-ballasted lamps), intended for domestic and similar general lighting purposes.

This month, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 60968 safety standard came into effect. It requires a CFL to have a rated wattage up to 60 W, a rated voltage of 100 V to 250 V and Edison screw or bayonet caps.

The IEC 60969 performance standard for self-ballasted lamps for general lighting services will come into effect on August 1.

“These standards have been introduced to provide quality regulation, as, in the past, there weren’t any regulations in place to ensure performance and safety. These regulations protect the consumer as the industry will not be allowed to import inferior products. The minimum life span of a CFL is 6 000 hours, with products previously failing to meet this requirement. As a result, certain lamps will now be more expensive,” explains Stuckie.

Further, he says that LED lighting should be used for applications that normally use inefficient incandescent lamps, such as task lights, night lights, pathway lighting, exit signs and garden lighting. One should avoid using incandescent lighting if possible.

“Replacing old lighting technology with new technology is the best way forward. By removing old mechanical control gears and replacing them with efficient electronic controls, power consumption is reduced and the life span of lamps is increased.

“Lamp and light fitting importer Eurolux has seen the urgency of creating and supplying energy-efficient products for industry and the domestic market. New ranges of energy-efficient products, such as recessed fluorescent fixtures, T5 and LED products, will soon be added to the company’s range,” concludes Stuckie, who is also the technical manager for Eurolux.

Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online
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