Bright idea

LED technology offers advantages over standard fluorescent lighting

Fluorescent lighting has long been used in commercial settings thanks to its energy efficiency and bright light. But there's a new bulb in town that promises all the benefits of the fluorescent tube-and more.


Scintillights are LED-short for light-emitting diode-lights made to look like fluorescent tube lights. Designed for today's fluorescent fixtures, they're something of a revolution in lighting.

"The technology has been around for a long time," says Joseph Tsui, president of Bright Green Technologies in Nisku, Alta. "But because of a number of issues, including the mechanics of LED, the need to convert from AC to DC current, and managing heat dissipation, we haven't been able to use LED to replace fluorescent tube lighting with a high-quality option. Until now."

Unlike fluorescent tubes, which need to be replaced after 5,000-8,000 hours, Scintillights are guaranteed to have a useful life of more than 30,000 hours. Running them 24 hours a day seven days a week, bulbs last about 3.5 years. Reduce the amount of time they're turned on, Tsui says, and they could end up lasting for 10-12 years.

LED tube lights use about half the energy of a traditional fluorescent tube-one distributor suggests that they're more than 80 per cent more efficient-making them very cost-effective on an operational basis. Payback on Scintillights, for example, is generally within three or four years.

Additionally, LED tubes don't have the problems of fluorescents. There's no annoying flickering, which can lead to headaches, even when they're first turned on. And mercury isn't used in them, alleviating a growing environmental concern.

Dean Ruptash, president of Enerline Inc. in Nisku, installed Scintillights in his front office about eight months ago and is pleased with their performance. One of his staff members had been experiencing headaches attributed to fluorescents; the headaches are now gone.

"I like to try new stuff," says Ruptash, who quickly adopted LED technology for his home when it first came on the market. "Plus, I'm cheap. I don't like to pay the big power bills."

Ruptash, an electrician, also converts fluorescent light fixtures for clients so that they can use LED tubes. An electrician typically does initial installation, although handy people can just follow the directions. After that, anyone can pop in a tube, but they shouldn't need to very often.

Laughs Ruptash: "I better not be in business when my bulbs burn out. I better be retired."


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