New Reflector CFLs That Can Take the Heat

March 01, 2005
March/April 2005
A version of this article appears in the March/April 2005 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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         Reflector compact fluorescent lamps (R-CFLs) have been known to overheat and fail in some applications. They haven’t performed well particularly when installed in insulated ceiling-airtight (ICAT) recessed downlights. According to the Energy Federation, Incorporated (EFI), the returns-to-sales ratio for R-CFLs is over 4 times higher than the ratio for bareglass CFLs. But the R-CFL problem is being addressed through a special publicprivate partnership between Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and lamp manufacturers. Two R-CFL lamps designed to perform in the hightemperature environment of recessed-can fixtures have entered the market and are available at advantageous prices.
        The lamps, manufactured by Philips Lighting Company, passed rigorous testing and specification requirements outlined by PNNL on behalf of DOE. They also meet or exceed Energy Star performance standards.
        The Philips EL/A BR30 16W reflector provides light output and warm-white color similar to a 65W incandescent reflector, and is a good replacement option for those interested in saving about two-thirds on their energy use. The Philips SLS/R40 20W (see photo) offers the same benefits and replaces a 75W incandescent reflector. (See “Reflector CFL Winners” for specs on both lamps.) Both models can be used indoors and out. In addition, these lamps are reported to last 3 to 4 times longer than incandescents, even when installed in ICAT recessed downlights.
        The two Philips R-CFLs were the winners of an open competitive request for proposals (RFP) that PNNL issued to encourage manufacturers to produce R-CFLs that perform well in fixtures whose operating temperatures can be high, including the ICAT recessed downlights found in many homes today. Both models are part of the Philips Marathon line. The BR30 is a new model, while the R40 has been available for some time.
        PNNL evaluated 12 models from five manufacturers, using criteria such as light output, beam angle, lamp length, and maximum operating temperature. All lamps that passed the initial screen were required to pass at least 6,000 hours of elevated-temperature life testing under conditions that simulated those of recessed-can fixtures for ICAT downlights.The Philips R-CFLs were the only lamps to pass PNNL’s elevated-temperature testing.
        For a limited time, volume discount pricing is available for as few as six lamps through a partnership among PNNL, Philips, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, and The Home Depot Supply, Incorporated (the business-to-business subsidiary of Home Depot). PNNL expects to release another RFP to manufacturers in early 2005 in an effort to encourage the introduction of additional R-CFLs that will perform well in ICAT fixtures.

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