When a certain someone raised their hands and exclaimed “Let there be light,” one of those hands did not hold a circuit board, high-tech fixtures, or a six pack of halogen bulbs. Alas. Lucky for us, scientists have been working out the “how” of light for over 100 years, and right now, the cutting-edge of high intensity illumination is in induction lighting.
Induction lighting was first shown off by famed, eccentric scientist Nikola Tesla in the latter half of the 19th century. He searched far and wide for a town in the mountains of Colorado with the right chemicals in the soil and the correct surrounding magnetic field. Then, Tesla calibrated the transmitters in a nearby tower, planted his new bulb inventions right there in the soil, and voila – there was light!
How, you might wonder? Well, similar to florescent lamps, induction lights such as Tesla’s early bulb flowers stimulate mercury and gas with electricity. Unlike florescent lights however, induction lighting does not depend on filaments or electrodes to cause brightness. These elements get a little weaker each time they are activated, causing eventual burn-out. In contrast, induction lighting uses a high-efficiency generator to create illumination. This causes much less wear and tear on the fixture, and in fact induction lighting can out-live florescent bulbs five times, lasting at around 100,000 hours! Induction lighting can also be extremely bright and boasts high efficacy. In many cases, we’re talking 70 lumens (or quantifiable units of visible light), per watt of energy.
You may be asking yourself what you could possibly need such long-lasting, industrial-strength lighting for. Well, cost savings, for one thing. The U.S. department of energy estimates that commercial properties can attribute 18% of their energy use to lighting, and residential properties come in at 11%. That’s a huge chunk of your monthly energy bill, and you don’t want to give away pennies in all your wires.
Security is another consideration when it comes to induction lighting. For example, many zoning codes require commercial parking lots to be well lit 24 hours per day, seven days per week. This is to keep public spaces safe, and while this is a noble goal, just imagine the labor costs if parking lots and street lamps used conventional bulbs. There would be people up in the sky fixing them all the time — and not for free either! With induction lighting, those parking lots can stay lit safely, for a long time, and for little cost.
Finally, style is an important consideration when looking into induction lighting. A quick online search will reveal large smooth surfaces in white, cream, chrome, and silver, with clean lines and modern profiles. Induction lighting is the kind of thing space ships and flying cars would be made of, given the chance. They were a gleam in a mad scientist visionary’s eye over a century ago, and they still have that air of futuristic charm. So save money and the back of a light bulb changer. Be nice to your parking lots, go green, and make Tesla proud. Look into induction lighting.