Friday, October 23, 2009

Research on dimmable lighting for dance practice space

We are designing a space for dance practice, and one of the elements we are looking at is the lighting. We would like to have dimmable lighting, which is usually accomplished with incandescent lights and a dmmer switch. With snippets of news items in my head about the phasing out of incandescent lights, some research was in order for if and how we could have dimmable lighting in the long term.

As a quick experiment, we put in an LED light bulb, and a compact flourescent (CFL), into a socket controlled by a dimmer switch. Right down to the lowest setting, both bulbs stayed at full brightness.

A quick run to wikipedia: there was a full article on the phase-out of incandescent bulbs. In the US, 100W bulbs go away in 2012, and all incandescents between 40 and 150W go away by 2014.

That means we can replace lights on the dimmer switches with incandescents for the next two years. What about after that? Flood lights are not included in the legislation, but I wonder if that will hold, since we have a pack of CFL flood lamp bulbs in our garage. Also, according to the article, the energy efficiency standards will require lighting to meet the efficiency of halogen light bulbs, which are still a form of incandescent, and dimmable. Quick research on these puts halogen flood lamps at about $5 for 75W. We also found dimmable CFL floods.

Besides energy efficiency, the other reason to look at CFL and LED lighting is longevity. LED bulbs are typically offering 50k hours life, as compare to 750 hours for a standard incandescent, 2000 for a halogen, 5-10k hours for a CFL. LED dimmable lighting is now available from Lemnis, but at $50 per 60W equivalent bulb, we can wait until the price drops on those.

So it looks like we can go ahead and install dimmer switches without being concerned about the availability of dimmable light bulbs in the future.

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