It’s impossible to ignore the quantum leaps in lamp and fixture technology. For your customers’ sake, you shouldn’t.

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) are not new to the market, but continue to be refined. The ongoing emphasis on energy-saving CFLs has resulted in a new generation of more contemporary appealing lamps with improved color rendition that further legitimize their deployment to an even larger market segment.

Metal halide (MH) also holds a place as an efficient lighting technology. As a staple in commercial use, MH lamps enjoy universal deployment in commercial installations for long life spans and excellent lumen output. Lighting professionals and building owners have come to accept their shortcomings—long strike and restrike times—for the benefit of superior illumination.

Poised to meet growing demand in the CFL market, Technical Consumer Products Inc. (TCP), Aurora, Ohio, is increasing its production of compact fluorescent lamps by 23 percent to 800,000 per day, according to Brad Wiandt, national sales manager. TCP manufactures 70 percent of the CFLs on the market through name brand, private label and other lighting manufacturers. The company anticipates its production will jump to 1 million CFLs per day by the fourth quarter of 2007, perhaps brought about by improved color rendition, eliminating the green hues common in older fluorescent technology.

Economies of sense

In addition to improvements in CFL color rendition, manufacturers’ emphasis has been on the balance between energy savings and the initial outlay for the lamps. It’s no secret that CFLs cost significantly more than incandescent lamps, but given a reduction in energy consumption of 60 to 70 percent and 15 to 20 times more lamp life, the economics make perfect sense. For example, a 16-watt, A-shaped CFL will replace a 60-watt incandescent, while still providing 850 lumens and measuring 81 on the color rendition index, with no loss in brightness or color rendition.

At GE Consumer & Industrial in Cleveland, the company has introduced screw-in T2 Spiral CFL lamps in 10, 13 and 15 watts.

“By producing 870 lumens, the new 13-watt T2 compares favorably with both the 13-watt T3 (825 lumens) and the 60-watt incandescent equivalent (840 lumens),” said Gary S. Crawford, CFL product manager, GE Consumer & Industrial. The T2 CFLs provide flicker-free starts, incandescent-like color and excellent lumen maintenance over a 12,000-hour rated life.

With GE’s T3 product, Crawford said, “the ballast size and maximum overall length of the 20- and 26-watt spiral CFLs have been reduced.”

Metal halide pulse-start technology also has seen innovation. Venture Lighting International, Streetsboro, Ohio, promotes the Uni-Form Pulse-Start MP 575 metal halide lamp as an energy-saver with higher lumen output and longer life.

The second-generation product offers up to 50 percent more lumens per system watt than traditional metal halide lamps and ballasts. Tipless formed-body arc tube technology follows the shape of the arc stream for improved thermal characteristics and greater light output. The design also eliminates cold spots, providing more uniform light output and longer lamp life.

These improved products may be the next contracting sales opportunity. They are easier to sell than ever, especially to cost-conscious facility owners. Consider presenting a checklist outlining the benefits of the new lamps. Ask your client if he is aware of improvements in strike and restrike times, color rendition, lumen maintenance, and overall lamp life, and let the lighting specification begin.

LAWRENCE is a freelance writer and photographer based in Bozeman, Mont. He can be reached at hrscrk@mcn.net.