Lighting Technologies

Incandescent – Incandescent lamps have relatively short lives (typically 1000 to 2000 hours of use) and are the least efficient of common light sources. In fact, only about 15 percent of the energy they use comes out as light – the rest becomes heat. However, they produce a pleasant color that is similar to natural sunlight. Incandescent lamps are the least expensive to buy but the most expensive to operate. Reduced-wattage incandescents produce about the same light output but consume less energy than standard bulbs.

Tungsten-halogen – Halogen lamps are a type of incandescent lamp that has become increasingly popular in recent years. They produce a whiter, more intense light than standard incandescents and are typically used for decorative, display or accent lighting. Halogen spotlights also have good focusing ability in small areas. They are about twice as efficient as regular incandescent lamps and last two to four times longer than most incandescent lamps.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps – Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are similar in operation to standard fluorescent lamps but are manufactured to produce colors similar to incandescent lamps. They are available in a range of types and sizes to meet most applications including /downlighting, ambience, task and general space lighting. CFLs are about four times as efficient as incandescents and last up to 10 times longer. Lamp ballast combinations that replace incandescents in standard fixtures are substantially more expensive than their incandescent counterparts.

Tubular fluorescent fixtures – Tubular fluorescent lamps are one of the most common sources of commercial lighting and also are among the most efficient. The new generation of small diameter lamps (T-8 and T-10) is particularly efficient. It is important to understand that lamps and ballasts work as a system and the overall efficiency of a lighting fixture is dependent on the amp/ballast combination. Traditional magnetic ballasts are less efficient than modern electronic ballasts. All ballasts are now required by the government to meet minimum efficiency standards. Fluorescent lamps last up to 20,000 hours of use.

High-intensity discharge (HID) – This category of high output light sources that includes mercury vapor, metal halide, highpressure sodium and low-pressure sodium lighting. As with fluorescent lights, HID lights require a ballast for proper lamp operation. The efficiency of HID sources varies widely from mercury vapor – with an efficiency almost as low as incandescent – to low-pressure sodium which is among the most efficient light sources. Color rendering varies widely from the bluish cast of mercury vapor lamps to the distinctly yellow light of low-pressure sodium.

Light Emitting Diode (LED) -LED is different from the standard light bulb because it uses an electrified semiconductive material to produce light instead of an electrified filament. In an LED light, electrified energy causes the semiconductor contained inside the LED bulb to emit light. LED bulbs are more durable and long-lasting than standard filament bulbs. They are less prone to breakage than fluorescent bulbs and they consume much less energy than either standard light bulbs or fluorescent bulbs.