Exterior Lighting Choices Include LEDs, Alternatives
Lesser-known light sources sometimes can be a better fit than LEDs. Induction lamps have longer performance lives than LEDs — 100,000 hours versus 50,000 hours for LEDs — and are instant-on. While it is technically feasible to dim them, commercially available products are hard to find. Induction sources are large, and they often are best suited for applications requiring diffuse lighting, rather than a precise beam.
Plasma sources — the new kid on the block — offer another alternative to LED lighting. Plasm sources are rated at 30,000-50,000 hours and are more efficient than the best LEDs. They are particularly well-suited to applications that otherwise might have used 250-400 watt HPS or MH lighting. The plasma light source is very small, so a tight reflector is able to distribute the light to the target in a very uniform and efficient manner.
The entire luminaire that incorporates all of the equipment required to operate and cool a plasma source is very large, and only very industrial designs are available at this time.
The luminaire is dimmable, and it produces a slightly cooler color temperature and, in some cases, lower CRI. For these reasons, it might not be desirable in applications where warmth and color accuracy are primary drivers. Color temperature ranges from 5,300 K to 6,000 K, and the CRI ranges from 72 to 95.
A new MH system to unique to one manufacturer includes the lamp and ballast as a system that offers managers the ability to step-dim and control the light precisely with a well-designed reflector. The product's lamp life is also longer than traditional MH systems.