With the phasing out of inefficient lamps, there's never been a better time to investigate next-generation lighting, says Tamlite Lighting's Colin Lawson.
6 June 2017 | Colin Lawson
The lights are going out all over Europe.
A wave of European Commission (EC) regulations - notably 245/2009, affecting fluorescent and other older lamp types - have sought to minimise the energy consumption of lighting for business and for home, and have led to a wave of public and private initiatives geared towards the replacement of legacy systems with high-efficiency, next-generation solutions.
April 2017 saw the introduction of the latest phase of EC rules intended to increase lighting efficiency, with the consequence that a significant number of older lamp types will no longer come on to the market. So now is the time for facilities managers to think about next-generation lighting.
The third phase of the 245/2009 regulation was implemented in April.
As a result, it is no longer possible to place low-performing metal halide lamps with E27, E40 and PGZ12 caps (<405W) - or compact fluorescent lamps with two pins and an integral starter switch - on the market. These lamp types have historically been widespread in industrial and office applications.
With a few exceptions, companies are still allowed to stock and sell these lamps, but they can no longer be manufactured. It is estimated that there is somewhere in the region of two years' worth of stock of both types out in the market, so there is certainly no need to panic about the availability of replacement fixtures just yet.
Rising maintenance costs
The laws of supply and demand mean that as no new such systems are being placed on the market, customers are set to see an increase in unit price for the older types. Maintenance costs are also destined to rise as the replacement of these lamps becomes more problematic and requires more extensive sourcing efforts.
In a broader context, the impact of regulatory changes and the abundance of publicity about major corporations who have shifted towards high-efficiency - most commonly LED-based - lighting, means that the writing is surely on the wall for fluorescent lighting in most large-scale applications. Further initiatives at a Europe-wide or individual government level are pretty much guaranteed, so those who have not moved away from old-style lamps may ultimately have no choice but to do so.
Consider overall upgrades
These changes may prompt facilities managers to carry out 'spot' replacements with LEDs as each older lamp type fails. But spot replacements would result in the mixing of magnetic and electronic ballasts on the same switched circuit. This could cause damaging high-voltage peaks, so it is wise to replace all existing magnetic ballasts with electronic ones.
LED lighting is now overwhelmingly established as the light source of choice for those looking to both reduce energy and save money. On a fundamental level, the energy savings can be measured in high double-digit percentages. Based on a replacement of legacy lamp types with an equal number of LED replacements - figures indicate that reductions of 63 per cent (retail applications), 65 per cent (office) and 85 per cent (both industrial and domestic) are now achieved routinely.
LED luminaires commonly offer a lifetime of more than 30,000 hours, which even on the basis of 24/7 operation means that they can be up and running for at least three years - double the lifespan of some conventional lamp types. And the call for fewer replacements translates into reduced maintenance costs and interruptions to the normal working practices of a building.
All of this means that - rather than undertaking the shift away from older lamps in a piecemeal fashion - the smart move is to approach upgrades with a comprehensive strategy in place.
Colin Lawson is head of sales, marketing and product development at Tamlite Lighting