30 Oct 2008
Brilliant Beams(HKTDC Lighting, Vol 01,2008)
Energy efficiency, eco-friendliness and cost effectiveness are the driving factors behind the latest lighting products
Energy conservation and environmental friendliness may be the current buzz phrases, but Hong Kong companies have been focusing on these concerns for many years.
As a result, they are leading lights in the development of "green" lighting, including the krypton, halogen or fluorescent bulbs that are more energy efficient and longer lasting than traditional incandescent bulbs.
Electrode-less and LED lamps are just some of the other specialties of Hong Kong manufacturers determined to succeed in this fast-growing market segment.
One of the first companies to have spotted the trend towards energy efficiency in lighting was Germain Lighting Ltd, which has been manufacturing low-energy lamps in Hong Kong and on the Chinese mainland since 1993.
Now that energy-efficiency standards are becoming increasingly mandatory in many regions around the world, Germain is offering a complete line of products that comply with requirements in the US, Europe and Hong Kong.
"A lot of manufacturers currently buy in bulbs and ballast separately and assemble them, but we produce both bulbs and ballast in-house, allowing us to control quality, production and delivery," says General Manager Louie Chan. "Not only do we have an automated production line, but we can also tailor-make lighting solutions for any special requirements."
One of Germain's most popular products in markets with power shortages, such as India and the Middle East, is an energy-efficient camping lamp.
It features T-LITE bulb technology that uses special trichromatic fluorescent powder, producing light efficiency five times higher than an incandescent bulb.
Green lighting is also nothing new to Tungda Electrical & Lighting Ltd, which introduced its induction lamp system under the Duralite name in 2001.
Tungda saw the writing on the wall for incandescent lighting well in advance of the market and has an R&D department in Hong Kong that focuses on the development of more environmentally friendly light sources.
This has put its products in demand in markets such as Korea, North America and Indonesia. "With places like Europe having to shift away from incandescent bulbs, we believe there are even bigger markets out there for us," explains Sales and Marketing Executive Kathy Chan.
The company's electrode-less lighting source, a result of Tungda's intensive R&D efforts, has the advantages of a long lifespan of 80,000 hours, high initial lumens and high luminous efficacy.
The product is suitable for general and specific lighting due to its high light output, and the restful, non-fatiguing quality of the light produced.
Tungda is not resting on its laurels. "The highest-wattage induction lamps on the market are up to 200 watts at the moment," Ms Chan notes. "With our experience and R&D in Hong Kong, we believe there is still lots of room to get more light using less power."
Street lighting is another area in which Hong Kong manufacturers such as EGL Energy are leading the way by exporting professional street lights built to international standards.
All the company's R&D, including technical and aesthetic design, is handled by a Hong Kong-based team of engineers, while manufacturing occurs in China.
EGL's experience in selling lighting to the Hong Kong government has stood the company in good stead as it seeks to deal with other governmental agencies worldwide.
Indeed, EGL is well placed to move into the Eastern European market, having just opened an office in Poland, where staff are actively looking to use EU funds for renewable project implementation.
"There's a general lack of professionalism worldwide in sustainable energy design," says Marketing Director Jeremy Ho. "With high oil prices these days, developing countries in particular are suffering power shortages, and our products provide a solution."
EGL's hybrid street lights combine wind and solar energy technologies in one high-quality package that is built to the latest British standards.
Posts capable of withstanding 230km winds carry both a wind turbine and solar panels that make them self-sufficient street lighting units, negating the need for costly mains-grid electricity supply infrastructure.
Bulbs can either be low-pressure sodium models that use half the power of conventional street lamps, or low-pressure sodium versions combined with metal halide bulbs, which provide the option of restoring white light to the colour temperature.
Finally, one company proving that it's not all earnestness in the green lighting sector is Tung Ying Industrial Co Ltd, which aims to brighten consumers' balconies and backyards with its range of solar-powered garden ornaments. "For instance, our decorative snail," says Director Lao Hoi-keung, "is a fun design that we think will sell well."
So, while these may be dark days for energy consumers, Hong Kong lighting manufacturers are ensuring that there is a green light at the end of the tunnel.
TEXT BY CHRIS WHITE