Lighting designers can slash energy costs by replacing traditional incandescent and fluorescent lighting with light emitting diode (LED) technology.
“This technology is improving by leaps and bounds, but it still has a long way to go,” says Rob Cross, vice president of Mule Lighting, a Providence, R.I.-based manufacturer of lighting and battery-related products. “Everyone's goal is to replace general lighting with LEDs, and I think it's just a matter of time before that will happen.”
While LEDs may not saturate the lighting market overnight, the dynaLUX series of LED bulbs may be one step in that direction. Mule Lighting launched the line of bulbs two years ago as an alternative to incandescent and fluorescent lighting for indicator and decorative applications. The bulbs consume as little as 1W of power, reduce energy usage by as much as 80%, and can last 10 times longer than an average incandescent lamp. They're also available in a variety of colors and brightness and lumen levels. Because they don't generate heat like incandescent bulbs often do, the LEDs can be grouped together for custom lighting displays. Cross says his company drew its inspiration for the line of LED bulbs from the exit sign lighting market.
“As a manufacturer of predominately emergency lighting products, we began to see a need for efficient type bulbs for exit signs,” he says. “The first LEDs happened to be bright in the color red, and they worked well for our industry because most exit signs are red.”
For its dynaLUX line, Mule Lighting retrofitted the LED bulbs into existing incandescent housings from GE, Phillips, and Sylvania. The company was soon commissioned to make LED lamps to retrofit decorative bulbs in 100 shopping malls across the nation. Many of the malls had installed 4,000 to 6,000 40W lights in the ceiling near the skylights.
“Because the bulbs were 100 ft to 150 ft in the air, they weren't used for general illumination,” Cross says. “Instead, they were used strictly for decoration.”
By replacing the 40W lights with 1W LED lamps, they significantly reduced their electricity consumption. The malls also achieved time savings because they no longer had to continuously change out the burned-out bulbs.
Mule's LED bulbs have also illuminated casinos, hotel lobbies, and even cranes on construction sites. Many of the large cranes are equipped with red, white, and green indicator lights to tell the operators which direction they're going and what direction they need to go.
“Because of the high vibration and the ruggedness of the situation, incandescent and fluorescent lamps don't last more than a couple hours,” he says. “Because LEDs are solid state, they are impervious to vibration or shock.”
The LEDs are more durable than other types of light sources, but they're also more expensive. When the cost comes down and the technology improves, Cross expects the LED lamps to work in mainstream applications.
“We're two or three years away from getting the equivalent lumen output in an LED as an ambient light bulb that you'd have on your bedside table,” he says.
For more information on the dynaLUX line, visit www.mulelighting.com.
The dynaLUX line of LEDs includes seven styles of bulbs. The LEDison series provides illumination patterns equivalent to conventional incandescent bulbs. The LED-G45, LED-R50, LED-R63, LED-M50, and LED-A19 series offer energy-efficient, direct replacement for incandescent and fluorescent bulbs in decorative lighting applications. The LEDelier bulbs are designed for candelabras, while the FlameTip series offers a replacement for incandescent chandelier lamps.
More than 100,000 hr of life
Electricity consumption in standard bulb reduced 80% to 90% to less than 1W
Vibration-resistant, solid-state electronic circuitry
Internal transient voltage surge protection
Low heat generation saves HVAC operating costs
Variety of colors and luminance outputs available
12VDC to 277VAC
Medium base standard
Replaces 10W to 60W incandescent bulbs