Improved light bulbs address style issues
Improved technology enables lighting companies to offer hoteliers an ever-growing arsenal of long-lasting, energy-efficient light bulbs.
Philips Lighting Co. offers a wide array of compact fluorescent bulbs designed for hotel use.
Compact fluorescent bulbs are an energy-efficient alternative to the more commonly used incandescent bulbs. The CF bulbs offer the same light output at one-third to one-quarter of the energy used and last eight to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, but cost between $5 and $12 each. Incandescent bulbs cost less than $1 per bulb.
A while ago, CF lamps were limited by how fast the light turned on and warmed up and by the sticker shock of the price, said Chris Forti, market development manager, hospitality, GE Consumer Products. With the miniaturization of electronics and improved manufacturing, there are few applications you cannot use a CF bulb for. The technical hurdles have been overcome.
The CF bulb has evolved from a utilitarian lighting device to a product that offers attractive design, according to John A. Cunningham, national accounts manager for Panasonic Lighting and Building Division.
CF designs have a glass envelope that goes over the light-emitting portion of the bulb that gives a design element to the technology, Cunningham said. The three basic envelopes are a standard incandescent shape and size, a globe size and a reflector for track lighting or recessed ceiling fixtures. They offer performance, design and aesthetics, so they can be integrated seamlessly into the hotel environment, and the guest will not notice any difference.
And that's important to hoteliers, according to Debra Meyer, national accounts manager with the industrial/commercial group of Osram Sylvania.
Image and style are important keys to hotel lighting, Meyer said. High-end hotels are especially interested in style and aesthetics, such as vanity-type lighting.
The lighting pie
CF bulbs are popular alternatives to incandescent bulbs because of the costs that go into keeping a hotel awash in light. Costs can be divided into three segments: energy, maintenance and bulbs.
Eight-six percent of the cost of lighting is energy, 11 percent is maintenance and 3 percent is the cost of the bulb, according to Philips Lighting Co. So the most effective way to reduce lighting costs is to use more energy-efficient bulbs.
Light output is measured in lumens per watt, and the average incandescent bulb offers 17 lumens of light per watt, according to Cunningham. A CF bulb offers 55 lumens per watt.
Using a CF bulb is like driving a car that gets 55 miles per gallon instead of 17 mpg, he said. Only 20 percent of the incandescent light is consumed for its intended use-light. The other 80 percent is wasted in heat. Many times that extra heat has to be countered by additional air conditioning.
The efficiencies of CF bulbs go beyond energy consumption.
Standard incandescent bulbs typically last 750 hours to 1,000 hours, according to Meyer. Top-of-the-line incandescent bulbs will last 2,000 hours to 2,500 hours and cost about 50 percent more than standard incandescent bulbs, she said. That still pales compared with CF bulbs that routinely last 10,000 hours.
But not all CF bulbs are created equal. That's why the federal government partnered with the lighting industry to create the Energy Star standard, which ensures that CF bulbs and other lighting technologies meet minimum standards relating to light throughout life.
The standard states that after 1,000 hours of use, a CF bulb must have a minimum of 90 percent of its original light output, and at 40 percent of its use, it must have a minimum of 80 percent of its original light output.
The standard was developed because some inexpensive CF bulbs worked well originally, but the amount of light they offered declined rapidly, according to Cunningham. This led to some early customer dissatisfaction with CF bulbs.
Low-end CF bulbs will not perform as well over time because their light output will decrease, Forti said. You will get what you pay for. If you go cheap, it won't perform as well.
That's why consumers are encouraged to look for the Energy Star standard when purchasing CF bulbs.
Ultra long life
Hoteliers looking for the longest-life bulb should consider light-emitting diode bulbs. LED bulbs cost considerably more than CF bulbs, but can last 10 times longer, according to Rob Cross, v.p. of Mule Lighting.
The LED bulbs will last 100,000 hours compared with 750 hours for most incandescent bulbs or 10,000 hours for most CF bulbs, Cross said. LED bulbs cost about $25-two to five times more than CF bulbs.
The payback is about one year to swap out incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs, he said. Colors from LED bulbs are brilliant and true.
The LED technology is advancing quickly, but it's not the right solution for table lamps or recessed cans. LED bulbs are best used for decorative use; indicators, such as exit signs; and accents, such as wall sconces, Cross said.
Seema Sahota contributes and publishes news editorial to http://www.discount-light-bulbs.com.
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