But what exactly is induction lighting? It is a form of lighting fundamentally different than our conventional methods. While a standard fluorescent lamp uses electrodes or filaments to create illumination, induction lighting uses magnets to conduct electricity.
Generally, the filament or electrode is the part of traditional light bulbs that burns out fastest. So, eliminating this part of the bulb and replacing it with magnet power greatly increases the longevity of induction lighting units. According to iGrowlights.com, the results can be amazing: some systems boast the capacity to last for 100,000 hours–that’s 11 years of 24/7 operation or 25 years if used for 10 hours per day.
In addition to long life, induction lighting units offer the following benefits:
- Virtually maintenance-free operation
- High efficacy, commonly 60–70+ lumens per watt
- No flickering, strobing, or noise
- Low-temperature operation
- Dimmable capability with some units
However, induction lighting units do have a high initial cost and are absolutely a long-term investment.
There are also some important considerations for potential widespread use of induction lighting technology. The iGrowlights.com figures above relating to 100,000 hours of use are from complete systems that require a ballast—these systems are not directly compatible with the average consumer’s light fixture. One such induction bulb does exist, but is only rated at 15,000 hours of life and only 1,100 lumens of output. However, it can be screwed into a conventional light fixture, which can effectively replace an incandescent or compact fluorescent bulb.
Lastly, just as with fluorescent bulbs, induction bulbs contain a small amount of solid mercury. While solid mercury is relatively safe in the case of bulb breakage, it is still important to dispose of these bulbs in a safe way due to their mercury content.
With these considerations in mind, there are many practical potential applications for induction lighting use, including:
- Hard-to-reach locations that make maintenance costs high or places with high ceilings where there is near or fully continuous operation, such as street lamps and lighting systems in tunnels
- Cold environments, like walk-in coolers and freezers
- Where reliability and longevity are essential
For more information about induction lighting, visit the US Department of Energy’s website.