Illuminating innovation to light up the office

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a new high-performance lamp designed to save energy in homes and offices while increasing lighting quality and visibility.

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a new high-performance, energy-efficient table lamp that is designed to save energy in homes and offices while increasing lighting quality and visibility.

Berkeley Lab claims that at full power, this two-lamp fluorescent system matches the combined luminous output of a 300-watt halogen lamp and a 150-watt, incandescent table lamp while using only a quarter of the energy.

The new lamp uses two independently controllable and fully dimmable compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). One lamp’s light is directed downward, whilst the other directs light up toward the ceiling, providing what the researchers describe as high-quality indirect lighting.

An optical ‘septum’ separates the two lamps, allowing three modes of lighting: downward lighting only, upward only, or up and down together. The relationships between the lamps, the septum and the lampshade have been designed to maximise the efficient distribution of light as well as to provide soft and even shade brightness.

‘Substantial savings can be had by turning off overhead room lighting altogether and using this lamp,’ said Staff Research Associate Erik Page. ‘The ‘down’ light gives the user more than enough flux (light output) for most tasks, while the ‘up’ light provides a low-glare ambient light that is ideal for computer environments.’ Lamp features were designed to enhance lighting quality and user visibility particularly in an office environment where PC’s are employed. These features include providing a level of flux that is said to be significantly greater than traditional task lights.

The fully dimmable and controllable lights are believed to allow for maximum flexibility by enabling the user to adjust the lighting system to a changing environment.

The dimming option increases energy savings by allowing users to reduce power when they need less light. The lamp also produces a more uniform light, reducing the harsh ‘hot spot’ effect produced by halogen lights and some CFL designs.

‘To our knowledge, nothing currently available in the office, hospitality, or residential marketplace has both the high-performance lighting quality characteristics and energy efficiency of this new lamp,’ added Michael Siminovitch, a scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division.