Innovations in LED Tube Lighting May End Our Obsession with Fluorescent

Wherever you look; whether waiting for a train, riding a bus, working in an office, shopping in a department store, or parking in a car park, the T8 fluorescent is ever present.

Why is the T8 so popular? In a nutshell, a T8 tube emits a lot of light for relatively little power consumption. It also emits all of the way around its surface allowing lighting designers to use reflectors to bounce light around a room. More recently, the T8 fluorescent has been superseded by the thinner T5. Despite a belief that the T5 is more efficient than the T8, the typical lumen efficacy of a T8 (86-94%) and T5 are, essentially, the same.

In practice, however, the performance of a fluorescent is often over played. Typically a 58W T8 fluorescent claims to emit up to 5,600 lumen with an average lifespan of 20,000 hours, or 2.3 years at continuous run. A 54W T5 fluorescent is rated at up to at 5,000 lumen with the same lifespan. However, how these figures are arrived at needs some consideration. This light output is measured at a room temperature of 35° C. At a more comfortable 25°C, the light output is reduced to approximately 89% for the same power consumption. In addition, the lifetime figure is achieved when the light is run in a 3-hour switching cycle (3 hours on, 15 minutes off). When the light is run in any other way (which it almost certainly will be) the lifetime is reduced.

These factors have long since led luminaire designers to look for viable alternatives and architects, contractors and end-users are increasingly opting to install LED. The continual development of the luminous efficacy of LEDs has seen figures in excess of 100 lumens per watt, which matches that of a T5 fluorescent. At Light Planet, several design innovations within our LED tube product range have dramatically increased our ability to compete in the traditional fluorescent market, including the advent of rotatable end caps that allow the installer to easily retrofit the tube into any fitting, and the introduction of LED tubes that emit light upwards as well as downwards emulating the all round light distribution of fluorescents.

Our range of LED T8 tubes have a very high luminous efficacy, up to 105 lumens per watt; are structurally robust in construction, which minimises centre flexing; and have lockable, rotatable end caps, which allows the tube to be safely rotated to point the light in the desired direction. The unique locking system, currently only available through Light Planet, allows the tubes to be quickly and safely installed into existing fluorescent fittings.

Our range of LED T8 tubes have a colour temperature of 4000K (daylight white), come in lengths from 2ft to 6ft, and have a 180 degree beam angle as standard, with 220 degree as optional. They can be directly retrofitted into existing fluorescent fittings without re-wiring. We also offer LED T8 tubes that are DALI Dimmable, tubes with emergency back-up packs, colour temperature adjustable (dimmable) tubes, and narrow beam angle tubes (50 or 70 degree).

Perhaps the most exciting innovation from Light Planet in the LED tube markets comes in the form of double sided tubes that shine light upwards as well as downwards. This feature allows them to be retrofitted into existing pendant lights, achieving improved light output at the working plane whilst also illuminating the ceiling as per the requirements of CIBSE Lighting Guide 7 and BSEN 12464:2011.

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