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Lamps for Your Business and What to Use

  • The type of lamp you use has a considerable effect on your lighting-related energy costs.
  • For most businesses, lamps account for as much as 35% of their monthly bill.
  • The following information will help you choose the most effective and cost-efficient lamps for your business:

Incandescent

These are what most people consider standard light bulbs. They are commonly found in homes and offices, and are very popular for their warm, inviting glow, and affordable price. However, the lifespan of an incandescent lamp is relatively short (only 750 hours) and it's not very efficient -- up to 85% of the energy it uses is turned into heat rather than light.

Fluorescent

Fluorescent lamps are popular choices for many businesses. They are up to 75% more efficient than incandescent bulbs, emit less heat, and last up to 20,000 hours. Although fluorescent lamps have a bad reputation for their color rendering, new (and slightly pricier) lamps are much improved. These lamps require ballasts; of the types available, electronic ballasts are the most efficient, eliminate flicker, and reduce noise.

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFB)

These new lamps combine fluorescent efficiency with incandescent convenience. With compact fluorescents, ballasts are built into the lamp, so a CFB can be screwed into a traditional incandescent socket. They are very good at rendering color and last about 10,000 hours.

Halogen

Halogen lamps are popular for detail-oriented task lighting, such as desk lamps, because of their superior color rendering. They are also commonly found in track lighting, floor lighting, and recessed cans. Slightly more expensive than incandescent lamps, they also last longer (around 3,000 hours) and are 20% more efficient. Reflector lamps and lamps with infrared reflecting are available for added efficiency (40% and 60% more efficient than incandescent lamps, respectively).

High Intensity Discharge (HIDs)

These lights are best suited for warehouses and outdoor applications, and have varied color-rendering capabilities. Following are the three kinds of HID lamps, which range in life from 10,000 to 24,000 hours: High Pressure Sodium Lamps produce an amber color and are a cost-effective choice for lights that remain on for several hours at a time. They are the most efficient source of exterior lighting available. Metal Halide Lamps have good color-rendering capabilities and are commonly used in sporting venues and warehouses. Mercury Vapor Lamps are largely obsolete, inefficient, bluish-white lamps. While their initial cost is low, their operating costs are significantly higher than other HID options. Using a variety of lighting types improves your business's appearance, operations, and efficiency.

Helpful Links

US Department of Energy
Mother Earth News Magazine

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