T5-HOs: Are They Here to Stay?

Abig buzz at last April's Lightfair conference in New York was the impact new state energy codes (the 1999 edition of ASHRAE 90.1 by default) will have on lighting, specifically the amount of watts consumed. One of the products being touted as a solution in many different applications was the T5 and T5-HO lamp.

07/01/2005


Abig buzz at last April's Lightfair conference in New York was the impact new state energy codes (the 1999 edition of ASHRAE 90.1 by default) will have on lighting, specifically the amount of watts consumed. One of the products being touted as a solution in many different applications was the T5 and T5-HO lamp.

"The fixture manufacturers are doing great things," said Keith Yancey, a senior associate with Lam Partners, Cambridge, Mass. "And architects love them because they're smaller and almost as efficient as T8s."

"I always try to use T5-HOs," said Lee Brandt, a lighting designer with Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design (HLB), New York. HLB employed the technology in their recent refit of the Associated Press' offices in Manhattan. "But we snuck those in on them," added Barbara Cianci Horton, a senior principal at HLB.

In general, Horton said T5s and T5-HOs are slimmer and tend to have better optics, but about the same color as T8s. T5-HOs, on the other hand, do produce extra lumens. In reality, she added, the firm goes back and forth between T5-HOs and standard T8s, "because some lamps just work better with certain fixtures."

Lithonia certainly made an impression on show visitors with an effective demonstration of its new volumetric RT5 product, which it teamed with Sylvania to produce. In fact, Jim Benya, president of Benya Lighting, Portland, Ore. said, "RT5 represents a paradigm shift in lighting that comes along once every 10 to 15 years. It's the first recessed fluorescent fixture in a long time that is cool."

At Lithonia's demo, Gary Trott, director of product development, applied technology, noted that the whole evolution of the product stemmed from the fact that many customers were simply tired of parabolic fixtures and wanted something that could better disperse light on a more gradual scale.

Like anything new or improved, the RT5 costs more than a traditional parabolic trouffer (about $150), but Trott said the fixture saves on energy costs and on the number of fixtures required, as the RT5s can be spaced further apart (visit www.lithonia.com/RT5 for demo information).

Besides offices, T5-HOs appear to be making strides in warehouses and other high-bay spaces. According to Greg Northcut with Universal Lighting, a manufacturer of ballasts and lighting controls, he's seeing a lot of Universal's T5-HO switching controls being installed in place of HID metal-halide lamps due to energy savings that can be accrued by switching to a 50% power mode. He adds there's also a savings ballast wattage comsumption: 240 vs. 400-plus watts.

Instant-on capability is another hot selling point. In general, T5-HOs cost more than their traditional metal-halide counterpart, and it takes about six T5-HO lamps to provide the same illumination as a standard HID. But in the long run, Northcut said, power consumption is significantly lower.

One concern with T5-HOs, according to Jack Riess with Holophane, is cold spots where mercury condenses in the lamp. To overcome this problem, Holophane unveiled a fixture containing a variable conductive heat pipe to release heat if a lamp gets too hot.



T5-HO Benefits

Can operate at a 50% power mode

Slimmer profile

Good optics

Extra lumens



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