Three themes that dominated Lightfair International 2008 were the environment, quality of life and legislation. The show, which was held at Las Vegas Convention Center May 27 to 29, attracted thousands of lighting professionals, 500-plus exhibitors and offered 70 lighting classes.

Environmental concerns addressed at LightFair 2008 were energy cost trimming, response to utility demand reduction needs and reduction of hazardous substances in products. A related concern about quality of life was evident in the new products on display and conference courses that focused on design and aesthetics, daylighting, versatile lighting control, human health and security.

Federal, state and local legislation are creating demand for more efficient lighting products. For example, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 created higher lamp efficiency standards for the 40W to 100W incandescent and halogen general-service lamps, and starting Jan. 1, 2012, 100W lamps will have to become 30 percent more efficient. In 2013, 75W lamps and in 2014, 40W and 60W lamps have to follow the efficiency route.

While some of the reduced-profile compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) products that were at Lightfair can respond to this challenge, incandescent technology will still be a choice. For example, Philips Lighting Co.'s Halogena lamps, made in 40W, 50W and 70W sizes, can replace 60W, 75W and 100W incandescent lamps respectively, providing about 30 percent energy savings, at nearly a 10 percent output reduction. GE's line of HIR (infrared reflecting) lamps can replace higher wattage standard PAR 38 lamps, and its 48W HIR lamp delivers more lumens than a 75W halogen. In addition, in the recent acquisition by Advanced Lighting Technology (ALT), Solon, Ohio, of the lighting technology division of Schott AG (Auer Lighting), ALT got access to new “nano film capsule technology” that's being used to produce hybrid incandescent lamps with twice the efficiency of standard incandescent lamps.

The benefits of durability and maintainability inherent in light-emitting diode (LED) light sources were seen in many booths displaying both LED lamps and fixtures. Since these tiny chips have uses beyond specialized applications, including what's now being called “architainment,” a host of interior downlights, accent luminaires and cove lighting strips offering improved lumen efficiency, more stable color and warm color temperatures were on display.

To efficiently withdraw heat from the LED die within a ceiling-mounted fixture, firms such as Nexxus Lighting, Charlotte, N.C., and Beta/Rudd Lighting, Racine, Wis., and its Beta Lighting subsidiary are using heat pipes (developed by NASA) rather than the larger and heavier finned aluminum heat sinks. Other lighting manufacturers showed LED components in conventional ways, such as installing LEDs in strips or clusters as “lamps,” or using power supplies in place of ballasts.

Lighting professionals are looking for meaningful LED criteria to measure useful life, safety, color stability, and lumen maintenance. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 13 solid-state lighting (SSL) research and development projects to receive up to $20.6 million in funding to assist in developing general lighting applications. Among the lighting firms selected to receive funding for SSL research are: Cree, GE, Osram Sylvania and Philips' Lumiled Lighting. All of these companies showcased breakthrough products at Lightfair 2008.

Exterior street and parking lot/garage lighting seems to be the first wide application of LEDs in the general lighting market, because these low-profile luminaires use cool-white LED sources from 4,000K to 6000K, with higher efficiency than warm white sources. LEDs' operating life of five to seven years means that maintenance and energy costs are much lower than the HID family. Additional LED features are reliable cold temperature operation and maintained light levels with temperature gradients, as well as an ability to accept lenses with a highly directional beam pattern, thus providing excellent uniformity, cutoff characteristics and enhanced vertical light levels.

GE Lighting Systems' 215W outdoor luminaire is able to replace a 400W metal-halide source, and its 50,000-hour planned service life compares with a 20,000-hour rated life and a 14,000-hour recommended relamp interval for the metal-halide system. Beta/Rudd Lighting also has a line of LED exterior fixtures for roadway, walkways and parking garages available with various IES roadway lighting distribution patterns. Holophane showed a fixture that mounts atop a 50-foot pole, and Elumen, a Canadian firm, showed luminaires for street and area lighting.

In keeping with energy codes calling for lighting energy reduction, daylight harvesting and provisions for demand response, several addressable controllable ballasts, architectural control systems and electrical distribution panel products were displayed. For example, Sylvania showed a T5 dimming ballast that accepts 0V to 10V DC control, as well as a two-wire power line dimming command and a PowerSHED demand response three-lamp ballast served by a shared multi-circuit power line communications injector. Also at the show were the Cooper Controls system that incorporates real-time energy metering of lighting circuits; Universal Lighting Technologies' Web-based lighting control unit and its DEMANDflex ballasts; Leviton's Z-MAX lighting control system that operates from timed scheduling or occupancy sensor input; and the Square D Clipsal Ethernet Network Interface Unit that allows remote access to the firm's lighting control network in a commercial building.

LightFair International 2009 will take place May 3-May 7, 2009 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, N.Y.