Green Lighting

The days of the incandescent light bulb are numbered, due to federal legislation that will begin phasing out the long-familiar but energy inefficient lighting source beginning in 2012. Most people are well aware of the LED fluorescent alternative showing up on store shelves and EnergyStar reports, but for many commercial applications, and several whole-room lighting solutions in the home, “green” proponents are turning to a technology pioneered more than 100 years ago: induction lightening.

Induction lighting looks very familiar, as it uses light bulbs that look much like the fluorescent tubes in use for decades. Both systems are lighted by the electrical excitement of gasses within the tube that react with phosphor that coats the tube to produce white light. However, fluorescent tubes use electrodes, those metal pins on the ends of the tube, and these degrade over time and lessen the lifespan of the light source. Induction lights, on the other hand, are powered by the transmission of energy via a magnetic field, an electrode-less system that is rated for as much as 100,000 hours – nearly 12 years on continuous use with limited lumen (light output) degradation over time.

Induction lighting has been in limited use for about 20 years, but has become more popular of late with the growing need to conserve energy. The basic principle for the technology, induction, goes back to the early 1890s when noted genius inventor Nicola Tesla described and demonstrated wired and wireless power transfer to electrodeless fluorescent and incandescent lamps. Tesla was said to have lit 200 lamps without wires from a distance 25 miles using a magnetic field, and he subsequently filed and was awarded a US Patent on the principle.

“LED, or Light Emitting Diode, bulbs will remain the choice for home lamps and other uses where the need is for a bulb of 25 watts or less,” says Gary Stone, owner of Denver’s Allstar Electrical Services, which performs commercial, industrial and residential electrical services with fully licensed master electricians. “But for bigger power users and those who need reliable light sources for often large areas, many architects and designers are beginning to spec induction lighting as the more efficient and economical option. We are installing induction systems in many properties with excellent results.”

Stone adds that induction lighting is preferred for office buildings where a great deal of overhead lighting is the norm, and he says the systems are also preferred for commercial applications subject to extremely cold temperatures, like outdoor security fixtures, parking garages, warehouse, public spaces, industrial buildings, company signage, and even freezer and cold storage lighting. Some homeowners and home designers are also incorporating induction lighting for high-ceiling applications.

The advantages of induction lighting, on top of the extended life, are numerous and include:

  • Highest wattage outputs (up to 400 watts). Very high energy conversion efficiency of between 62 and 90 Lumens/Watt – higher wattage bulbs are more energy efficient.
  • Minimal Lumen depreciation (declining light output over time) compared to other lamp types as filament evaporation and depletion is absent.
  • “Instant-on” and hot re-strike, unlike most conventional lamps used in commercial/industrial lighting applications, such as mercury-vapor lamp, sodium-vapor lamp and metal halide lamp.
  • Environmentally friendly as induction lamps use less energy, and use less mercury per hour of operation than conventional lighting due to their long lifespan. The mercury is in a solid form and can be easily recovered if the lamp is broken, or for recycling at end-of-life.
  • Proprietary heat dissipation designs.
  • Dimmable electronic ballasts.

These benefits mean that induction lighting systems offer a considerable cost savings of between 35% and 55% in energy and maintenance costs compared to other types of commercial and industrial lamps which they replace, says Stone.

Allstar Electrical Services electricians serve as electrical contractors on commercial and industrial projects, including new-build and retrofit, of all sizes, and handle household electrical needs too, throughout Metro Denver and Colorado’s Front Range. For more information on induction lighting and all green lighting solutions, as well as the broad range of electrical services provided, contact us at:

gstone@allstarelectrical.com or call 303-399-7420.