So there is news in the lighting world along with other tech industries that use rare earth elements. Since there is a limited amount of these elements to be mined effectively and that source is controlled by overseas mining operations we are now at the mercy of supply and demand. What that translates to for us in the lighting world is that lamps that use these elements to produce high efficacy sources of light are seeing a market impact in higher lamp prices for the already premium lamps on the market. Let me state this another way. If you want the good fluorescent lamps they are going to cost more. In some cases as much as 40% more.
So what is the solution? Hope that the prices dip? Hope that mines around the world that have been dormant can be resurrected and help supply meet demand?
We have another approach for you to consider. Use less lamps in your specifications. For instance, if you are specifying a 3 lamp T8 standard lamp and low ballast factor ballast for a project, consider a 2 lamp system with a high ballast factor ballast (1.15-1.2 BF) and a reflector kit. Look at the lamp you are using and see if there is a relatively inexpensive upgrade to the lamp spec if necessary. You may see benefits in all aspects. In this case the wattage consumption will be virtually equal and the lumen package will be higher. A second scenario may be to look at a “medium” power ballast (1.0 BF) and a high efficiency reflector kit. This approach would use less power and can deliver equal light output. Over the span of a project, building or campus a 33% reduction in lamp count can be effective in cost control over the life of the system.
The same opportunity is available in may other applications. Consider using a 3 lamp T5HO system or a 5 lamp T8 HBF system when you don’t really need the typical 4 lamp T5HO or the 6lamp T8 HBF systems. The application of 8’ T8 industrial fixtures is very common in a 4 lamp T8 with standard ballast factor. Many times a 3 lamp T8 HBF system will yield similar results with less lamps to buy and re-buy.
Contact ESI for more information regarding a “less lamps” approach to your next project.