Indoor Lighting

Energy efficiency, improved performance, ease of installation, ease of use and streamlined or otherwise improved statistics (smaller sizes, broader voltage ranges, lower or higher wattage, etc.) are among the benefits of many notable, new or enhanced indoor lighting products.

T5 lamps

Packing a lot of wallop in a small package, T5 fluorescent lamps offer several advantages that make them suitable for low-profile, high-efficiency fixtures designed specifically for use in a variety of retail, hospitality and commercial applications. The 4-foot T5 high-output (HO) lamp, at about half the diameter of the T8, for example, produces 5,000 lumens, about twice the light as an equivalent T8. T5s, in general, feature high-lumen maintenance of 95 to 97 percent. Because they are designed for peak light output at 35 degrees centigrade—10 degrees higher than the optimum operating temperature of T8s and T12s—they can run in higher-temperature environments and are more efficient in confined areas where there is little or no air circulation.

The Lithonia Lighting compact MS5 Series low-profile T5 Direct fixture is designed to take advantage of T5 lamp attributes. A mini-strip fixture with reflectors that increase lighting efficiency, this unit is suitable for installation in coves. Louvers are also available for applications where greater optical control is required. Available reflectors include perforated and non-perforated, in painted white, specular and galvanized finishes. The highly polished specular anodized aluminum reflector permits a broad range of reflective control, from very widespread to narrow spot distribution. The performance-driven fixture is available in one-lamp and two-lamp symmetric or asymmetric configurations.

Simkar’s new line of T5 Striplites CH5s are suitable for indirect lighting, cove lighting, wall washing and display cases in residential, commercial and industrial locations. The fixtures feature flip-up sockets for easy installation and have multiple knockouts, facilitating surface- or pendant-mounting. Sporting decorative endplates that provide a finished look, the fixtures are available with four different diffusers, installable without tools, with either of two reflector options (white steel or perforated steel) or without a reflector. The standard CH5, without diffuser, can be mounted in tandem. The fixture comes with a universal ballast (120V/227V), eliminating mix-ups if a job has multiple voltages.

Light-emitting diodes

Along with small size and energy efficiency, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) offer long life and durability.

LEDs, which convert electrical energy directly into monochromatic light, are increasingly popular low-voltage alternatives to conventional lamp fixtures for commercial and residential applications where long life is appreciated, large amounts of lighting are not needed or a fixture’s small dimension is an asset.

Showing red (amber), green, yellow, blue or white color, depending upon their chemical makeup, LEDs emit uniform light without hot spots. Essentially, a piece of crystal encased in plastic packaging, with no filament or glass to break, they are shock-resistant and very durable. As the lighting is solid state, end-users need not worry about any heat emanating from the fixture as they would with comparable incandescent light. Using less energy than comparable bulbs, LEDs are extremely long lasting—carrying ratings of up to 100,000 hours of life (circa 10 to 11 years of continuous operation) or more.

Osram Sylvania offers a variety of distinct, minimal heat-generating, LED modules in five colors. The LINEARlight LED modules, less than 5 mm high and consisting of 32 LEDs, can be used where temperature or space limitations prevent use of conventional means of illumination, such as escape route markers, edge-of-aisle lighting or outline lighting. Units of four LEDs can be cut out at regular intervals without damaging the rest of the module. Rectangular, circular and square MARKERlights, suitable for seat marking, step marking, ambience lighting inside cupboards, shelves, or display cases or for design light effects, are also available.

In place of a 40-watt incandescent or an 18-watt fluorescent, an LED exit sign, running, 24/7/365, on as little as 2 watts or less would likely earn quick payback in energy saved and minimized maintenance costs. LED exit signs are available in three configurations: direct-view where the diodes spell “EXIT” in front of an unlit background, edge-lit panel and indirect lighting. Some new units offer a self-diagnostic feature, available either as a standard or as an option, that complies with the National Fire Protection Association 101 Life Safety Code for mandatory testing. It automatically tests the backup battery at least once a month for 30 seconds and at least once a year for 90 minutes. It also has a status indicator.

Cooper Lighting CX..SD Sure-Lites LED cast-aluminum exit signs are available in red, with 12 LEDs, running 2.8W at 120V and 2.9W at 277V and in green, with four LEDs, running 3.9W at 120V and 3.6W at 277V. The super-bright UL-listed indirect view LEDs feature self-diagnostic testing with the indicator blinking automatically to indicate specific problems. If power is interrupted, the LEDs run on Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cad) batteries pro-rated to activate in the fixture for 15 years. The Energy Star fixtures, available in black, white and brushed aluminum, single or double face, are rated for low-level mounting and can be pendant- as well as back-mounted.

Emergency lighting

Also featuring self-diagnostic testing, the McPhilben COMPAC 6-volt CTX Series thermoplastic Emergency Lighting Units are available with 12W, 18W and 24W capacity and accept 6 to 12W halogen lamps or 5.4 to 12W tungsten lamps. The fixture’s Xtest self-diagnostic/self-testing management system uses a micro-controller to monitor and control all vital system functions and run the unit’s electronics. The Xtest eliminates input wiring mistakes by checking power wiring before applying loads to critical system components. A manual test switch allows the Xtest system to perform various tests at any time. Available in white or black, the fixtures use a special track system that allows full range of adjustment to the lamp heads.

Lamps and ballasts

Other goal-oriented indoor lighting products include energy-efficient lamps suitable for replacement applications and a couple of new ballasts.

Designed for retail display and restaurant accent lighting and featuring accurate beam control, GE Diamond Precise Integral Electronic MR16 provides low-voltage performance in a standard screw-base socket lamp. Suitable for replacement of R20/ R63/PAR20/ PAR63 lamps, the compact lamp comes with the transformer built into its base. Available as a 12-degree spot or a 25-degree flood, the new lamp uses 21 watts of energy and delivers about 12.5 lumens per watt (LPW) versus the incandescent 50-watt R20 at 7.6 LPW and the 50-watt PAR20 halogen at 11.4 LPW. The lamp is fully dimmable and lasts 5,000 hours.

Various manufacturers have introduced new electronic ballasts smaller and lighter than previous models or that operate across a range of voltages. Ballasts with streamlined statistics afford fixture manufacturers and lighting designers added design flexibility; ballasts with a broad voltage range are installer-friendly and allow for reduction in inventory.

AdvanceTransformer’s new e-Vision line of compact, lightweight electronic ballasts for low-wattage metal halide high-intensity discharge (HID) lamp operation provides performance that enables metal halide lighting as a viable alternative to tungsten, halogen, or incandescent sources for offices, retail environments, schools and other indoor applications. Two dual-wattage ballast models are available—one for 35W or 50W lamps; the other for 70W or 100W lamps. The ballasts provide a 1.0 ballast factor at either wattage, ensuring full light output. An IntelliVolt feature allows ballast operation with any nominal input voltage from 120 to 277V, 50 or 60 Hz. The thermally protected ballasts include an automatic ballast shutdown at end-of-life.

Universal Lighting Technologies’ low-profile Triad electronic linear ballasts for T8 lamps feature universal input voltage (108 to 305V). The unit incorporates the intelligence to sense the input voltage and regulate the input current, enabling the output control to the lamps to remain constant across the whole range. The new ballasts are smaller, by 45 percent, than standard-size electronic linear ballasts. The units, which are available in 1-4 lamp instant-start models, operate with less than 10 percent total harmonic distortion (THD). They feature parallel lamp operation with a standard wiring and standard mounting footprint—while the height and width are smaller, the length is the same—for ease of replacement.

Philips Lighting’s new MasterColor HPS-RetroWhite CERAMIC METAL HALIDE LAMP is a suitable high color rendering index (CRI) retrofit option for providing uninterrupted white light in place of the yellow light typically afforded by high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps. The HID lamps are direct screw-in replacements that install in any HPS ballasts, without modification of the fixture or ballast. The lamps use ceramic arc tube technology, rather than standard quartz burners, to achieve a CRI of 90, to provide color stability and an 85-percent lumen maintenance. Because the lamps do not require regularly scheduled shut-off, they are suitable for industrial locations where continuous lighting is needed. The lamps, which are TCLP compliant and carry an open fixture rating, are available in 250 and 400 wattages.


GE Lighting Systems, Inc. has added the EZ Connect feature to its line of industrial fixtures. The EZ Connect adapter is a plug-in wiring harness that allows for easy connect and disconnect inside the fixture wire box. The nine-pin connector simplifies initial wiring, upgrading and maintenance. The wiring harness also accepts options for inline fusing and inline diagnostic testing. A plug-in diagnostic tester allows an electrician to quickly identify a problem and repair it with minimal downtime. The upgrades are adaptable to all GE products identified as having EZ Connect. The hexagonal housing simplifies symmetrical alignment in fixtures hung in rows. Three ballast housing series, sliding disconnect, bracket- and surface-mounted are available.

Suitable for display applications where a fixture needs to be close to the task or object, W.A.C Lighting surface-mounted MM-204 is a low-voltage flexible fixture mountable on a wall or ceiling, on shelving, in cabinets and above workstations. The fixture, available in black, white and brushed nickel and powered by a remote transformer, slips through a hole in the mounting surface secures with a nut. The fixture accommodates MR 11 (20-35W) and MR 16 (20-75W) lamps. Optional mesh and solid bulb shields are available in the three finishes. Fixture dimensions are 1¼-inch length, 1-inch diameter without shield and 24-inch maximum extension.

Progress Lighting’s new series of UL-listed recessed fixtures, Firebox, are UL classified for fire resistance for L-500 Series ceilings, in a new UL category, CDHW (Lighting Fixture Designated for Fire Resistance). The line, featuring 4-, 5-, and 6-inch aperture incandescent or 6-inch aperture compact fluorescent luminaries, eliminates need for field construction of a custom drywall enclosure around the recessed downlight (which, in commercial installations, had been necessary to maintain fire rating). An electrician can install it like any other conventional downlight. Targeted to hospitality, apartments, assisted living and other light commercial installations, the series will maintain up to one-hour fire rating when installed in a UL L-500 series non-IC fire-rated floor/ceiling assembly.

Industrial Lighting

In industrial lighting, energy-saving considerations drive product development as well. Ruud Lighting’s new EZ Bay Prismatic Reflector (ZAP Series) features a 16-inch clear acrylic reflector that produces horizontal and vertical illumination and uplight with low brightness. The lamp (included) is available in wattages of 200 to 450 Uni-Form pulse start metal halide (PSMH) and 400-watt probe-start metal halide. An energy-saving ballast for 277 volts is available with the PSMH model, as well as the Constant Wattage Autotransformer ballast. The ballast housing is vented and has built-in handles. Lens enclosures are available.

Lightolier’s new specification-grade, energy-efficient Calculite square and rectangular aperture recessed downlights use compact fluorescent triple-tube lamps in four wattages up to the recently introduced 57-watt triple tube, which offers 4,300 initial lumens, a 34 percent increase in light output over a 42-watt triple tube. Three different aperture configurations are available, designed to provide high-performance, general ambient illumination and wall washing. The 4½-inch rectangular aperture luminaire accommodates the slightly longer length of the 57-watt lamp in a shallow fixture with a small ceiling while maintaining efficiency and glare control. EC

The FELDMANS write for various magazines and Web sites. They can be reached at or 914.238.6272.

About the Author

William Feldman

Freelance Writer
William Feldman writes with his wife for various magazines and Web sites. They can be reached at or 914.238.6272.

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