Downlights are designed to illuminate the work surface without drawing the occupant's attention up to the lighting fixture. Until now, however, lighting specifiers had to select from large-aperture designs for incandescent or high-intensity discharge lamps in high-ceiling applications.

To meet the need for high-wattage, compact, and energy-efficient fixtures, Spartanburg, S.C.-based Prescolite launched a line of specification-grade Architektur 57W and 70W compact fluorescent (CFL) recessed ceiling downlights and wallwashers in January. Ron Newbold, senior project manager for Prescolite, says the products help specifiers provide the most unobtrusive source of lighting possible for an application.

“If you were to identify the perfect downlight, it would be one where you had the amount of light that you needed on the work surface, but you had no idea where it was coming from,” Newbold says. “You want a product that has very good glare control because bad downlighting products will emit light at high angles, which is offensive to the eye.”

To minimize glare, the Prescolite product development team designs its specification-grade products with its patented Virtual Source technology. Horizontal lamped products have an asymmetrical light distribution, and patented optics allows for an equal amount of cutoff or brightness at 45° at all lateral viewing angles. Prescolite designs its reflectors so a transition line is designed into the reflector that defines the cutoff.

“The challenge has always been to redirect and control that light in a horizontal position,” Newbold says. “You're taking an asymmetrical source and making it appear like it's a symmetrical distribution from below.”

Larry French, a principal with Auerbach Glasow, a San Francisco-based architectural lighting design firm, says the Virtual Reflector system has improved the optical control of CFLs by creating a reflector within a reflector. While he hasn't had the opportunity to use the downlights yet, he says the high-wattage CFLs will be useful for applications with high ceilings.

“They're not going to light a 100-foot atrium, but for a triple-height or double-height ceiling, they're very appropriate,” French says.

The CFLs can provide an alternative to incandescent and HID luminaires in medium- to high-ceiling commercial and institutional applications, such as shopping malls and tall entryways of office buildings. Newbold says CFLS have less color shift over time, 26% more efficiency, faster ramp-up times, and better color rendition than metal-halide lamps. Due to the compact size of the fixture, the light is also able to provide more light in a smaller package.

“Specifiers want the smallest aperture possible, but without sacrificing efficiency and the light output aspects of the product,” Newbold says. “With downlighting, smaller is better.”

Product Features

  • The housings are constructed of heavyweight, 22-gauge, cold-rolled galvanized steel.
  • Interchangeable trims mount with a positive retention system.
  • Pre-aligned snap-in sockets ensure proper lamp-to-trim alignment.
  • The 57W and 70W downlights feature a regressed lens option that allows installers to relamp from the top or bottom of the product.
  • Units have fast start-up times even in freezing temperatures.
  • Products are available in a variety of reflector finishes, colors, lens options, and accessories.
  • Recessed downlights feature a multi-volt ballast that can run voltages from 120V to 277V.
  • Downlights can be specified in horizontal or vertical lamp orientations.
  • The housings are UL- and cUL-Listed for damp locations.
  • Fixtures come in 8-inch and 9-inch apertures.
  • The line of products features a patented optics technology to eliminate lamp image glare above 45° from any viewing angle.