LED lights successfully replace fluorescent Print
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Friday, 22 May 2009 09:37
Summary:   Results from an evaluation on new energy efficient lighting technology undertaken by local firm CarbonetiX in partnership with the Sustainability Fund, managed by Sustainability Victoria, and with the support of Frankston City Council.

LEDs successfully used to substitute fluorescent lighting

18 May 2009


BRUCE ROWSE   0438 878 311
BARNEY MEZEY  0406 875 097

In October last year CarbonetiX started an independent evaluation of LED lights as a substitute for fluorescent lighting. LEDs, standing for light-emitting diodes, have previously been commonly used, but for other purposes such as for low energy indicator lights on household equipment.  The evaluation was being undertaken by CarbonetiX in partnership with the Sustainability Fund, managed by Sustainability Victoria, and with the support of Frankston City Council. Eight months on and the trial is now nearing conclusion.

CarbonetiX CEO Bruce Rowse says “176 fluorescent tubes have been replaced with solid state LED lamps in the Mahogany Neighbourhood Community Centre in the City of Frankston.  Users of the facility were surveyed before and after the upgrade and noted either no change or an improvement in the lighting. An illumination assessment showed that illumination levels after the upgrade were around the same as before. Yet power consumption has dropped from over 40 watts per lamp down to 18 watts.”

He explained that the trial has involved firstly a desk-top evaluation of LED products, then selection of lamps from those six manufacturers who appeared to have the best products. These were then tested by CarbonetiX for light output and power consumption. The best performing lamp was then sent to a NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) certified laboratory for photometric testing. “It was disappointing to have the only Australian lamp fail during our in-house testing. However the result was  surprising: the useful light provided by the best lamp in a standard office troffer was similar to that of a used halo-phosphor tube, whereas our earlier program of testing indicated the LEDs were just not bright enough to be used as a fluorescent substitute.”

According to Bruce this meant that where a building was currently lit by halo-phosphor lamps, which are still quite common fluorescent tubes, and where the illumination levels exceeded those specified in AS1680, that the best LED tube could be used as a fluorescent substitute. Accordingly the decision was made to go ahead with the upgrade at the Mahogany Neighbourhood Community Centre.

The other concern was the reliability of the product. “Barney Mezey, our energy auditor who ran with the project, was concerned about the headache that failure of the lamps would cause. Fortunately all of the lamps are still working three months after they were installed. Obviously this is nowhere near long enough to establish whether or not the lamps will operate for 50,000 hours or not as claimed by the manufacturer. But it is a good start” said Bruce.

LEDs are still expensive, with CarbonetiX estimating a twelve year return on investment. But this trial indicates that if the technology continues to evolve and prices drop that LEDs could help halve the use the energy used by lighting in commercial buildings.

 Relamping with LED

Last Updated ( Friday, 22 May 2009 09:49 )