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17 September 2008

RS Components, Europe's leading distributor of electronic, electrical and industrial components, has begun a trial installation of Dialight LEDs in its Corby head office. Over 100 Dialight HL16 retro-fit Halo LED units are replacing MR16 halogen down-lighters in the main corridor that leads to all the meeting rooms.

The HL16s feature three LEDs complete with heatsink housing comparable to MR16 size and were specified as a replacement for the halogens for several reasons. First of all they are an easy retrofit and at only 3.6 watts power consumption compared to the 50 watt halogens, the HL16s will deliver a huge energy saving.

Lighting maintenance can be an expensive matter and many companies prefer to plan their maintenance schedule to avoid unexpected disruption, so they can’t afford to wait until the lights fail before replacing them. For that reason a lot of organisations plan their replacement schedule based on half the expected life of the light fitting, which is 2,000 hours for the MR16 halogen. By comparison the HL16 LED has a lifespan of 50,000 hours, so it requires zero maintenance after installation, delivering another important saving on hardware and technician time.

Being semiconductor-based LEDs are built for frequent switching off and on, ideal for integrating with energy saving controls like the computerised switching at Corby; this also substantially extends their lifespan to as much as ten years. Additionally LEDs can be switched off or dimmed when there’s no one in the area, bringing even more energy saving. In office environments their lower operating temperature means there’s less heat output for the air-conditioning to contend with, so it’s yet another winning feature for saving energy.

Doug Ollett, Plant and Services Technician at RS Components, who specified the LEDs commented: “People in the office are already very happy with them. They say they like the nice bluey-white light – it’s not so harsh as the halogens and less strain on the eyes.”

While HL16s can be retro-fitted anywhere MR16s are used, they are also suited for accent and landscape lighting as well as for display cases, so a few small LEDs are being used at Corby to fill up dark holes not previously illuminated by the halogens. Their ability to focus the light directionally rather than spraying it around like conventional light sources not only makes them more efficient, but it can also reduce light pollution into the sky or into the windows of adjacent buildings.

“I’m expecting that these LED installations will pay for themselves in 20 months,” said Doug Ollett, “so I’d like to see them replace all our halogens in the long term.”

When it’s finally time to dispose of them, LEDs are safe and easy to recycle, as they contain no mercury or other hazardous materials. With so many benefits LEDs truly are a revolution in lighting technology. Compared to conventional lights, they’re like the iPod is to the gramophone – light years ahead.

Both the housed LED units used (RS Stock No. 278323) and the driver unit for a complete solution (RS Stock No. 6452053) are available, ready for next day delivery, through RS.

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