LED lighting the way to go

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Nelson-based LED lighting manufacturer Switch Lighting is welcoming new regulations and standards for New Zealand light fittings and insulation.

“LED lighting is the way of the future,” according to managing director Gerard Woods.

“This becomes obvious when you read the Standards New Zealand new amendment for downlights. Our LED light is one of the few available in the country that performs within the required Standard, and the only LED luminaire made in New Zealand, specifically for the New Zealand market.“

Mr Gerard, a mechanical engineer, and business partner Jon Maunsell started Switch Lighting three years ago.

An electronics specialist, Mr Maunsell has been working with LED lights since 2001, and has seen the product evolve and improve markedly in that time, so that today it is very difficult to tell the difference between an LED and a traditional light.

The three major benefits of LED lights over traditional lights are their enhanced reliability, reduced energy consumption and long life.

Switch Lighting is experiencing strong growth and demand for its energy-efficient LED light fittings, and not just because of the change in Standards.

“A 13W LED light is equivalent to a 50W Halogen bulb. In a typical four-bedroom house, you need 6000W to power incandescent lighting. With LED that drops to 600W so that’s a huge saving in resources and dollars. You can have lots of lights, down to a 1W LED, without using lots of energy, Mr Gerrard says.

“The lifetime of an LED is determined around when the lumen (light) output has diminished to 70% of the original output,” he says.

Switch Lighting Luminaires are designed to last for 50,000 hours. At five hours a day, this equates to around 27 years.

The amended Luminaires Standard (AS/NZS 60598.2.2:2001 — incorporating New Zealand only Amendment A — Recessed Luminaires) requires recessed downlights to comply with one of four new Standards.

The IC classification requires Luminaires to run at less than 80° Celsius, which allows building insulation to abut and cover the luminaire.

“It means the light fitting is not breaking the thermal barrier,” Mr Gerard says, “Our latest LED product has been designed to meet this new Standard, and will be on the market in mid-2012.”

Switch Lighting’s current 13W downlight is compliant with the CA135 classification, which means insulation can abut but not cover.

The beauty of the LED system is that it can be retrofitted into existing recessed lighting, and homes built after May 10  this year must comply with the new Standard.

“Switch Lighting is gaining a lot of traction in the marketplace from people wanting to renovate and build new using our technology,” Mr Gerard says.

“They are futureproofing their homes against rising electricity costs and also getting rid of the gaps in insulation that are a part of existing downlight installations.”

With about 10% of a home’s electricity bill going on lighting, Mr Gerard says LEDs can reduce that to 2%.

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