Light and Color
Applying the Technology

Matching Lamps to Applications
Choosing the right lamp for a specific application can seem complicated. Many different elements of lamp performance must be considered. Is the light source appropriate for the tasks being performed? Does it complement the light in the rest of the installation? A basic understanding of the science and technology of light helps to simplify the decision-making process.

Color Characteristics
How important is color rendition to the application? In stores and showrooms it affects the appearance of the goods being sold and can help attract customers. In many industrial applications it is completely insignificant. What about color temperature? It needs to be matched with the type of activity. In offices, schools and other work environments, higher color temperature, i.e. cool light sources, are indicated. Stores, supermarkets and showrooms frequently call for intermediate color temperatures. Restaurants, specialty shops, lobbies and private offices often look their best with relatively low color temperature.

Service Life
How long will a particular lamp last? Will the output deteriorate rapidly, thereby reducing light levels? If the application includes fixtures in high ceilings and other hard to reach locations, relamping can involve labor expenses far in excess of the cost of a new lamp. In these situations, labor and lamp inventory costs can make it more economical to replace many lamps at once—before they reach their rated service life—rather than replace them as they fail one by one.

The Impact of EPACT
Any discussion of energy efficiency must also consider the Energy Policy Act of 1992. This comprehensive Federal legislation is gradually mandating the use of more energy efficient technologies. In general, EPACT promotes replacing standard incandescent lamps with halogen and compact fluorescent versions, replacing incandescent reflector lamps with halogen PARs, and using higher efficiency fluorescent lamps (such as T8s) instead of full wattage types.