30 Oct 2008
Green Glow(HKTDC Lighting, Vol 01,2008)
Increasing concern over global warming is driving sales of environmentally friendly lighting
Governments on every continent are looking at ways to reduce carbon emissions by cutting down on electricity use, and Hong Kong lighting manufacturers are delivering products that do just that.
Australia, Canada and the EU have all announced that they will phase out inefficient incandescent bulbs and replace them with highly efficient compact fluorescents that use one quarter of the electricity.
"Energy-saving bulbs and LED bulbs will replace traditional incandescent bulbs in the European market in 2012, and Asia and the US are also moving that way," notes Extra Light (HK) Electrical Co Ltd Manager Hendry Chan.
"Incandescent bulbs are being phased out starting with Germany and France, so we are replacing our incandescent product line with halogen bulbs and other types of energy-saving bulbs."
Shipping 80% of its products to EU markets, the company recognises that it has to be at the forefront of change. "It is not hard for us to switch to energy-saving products, since we have an R&D focus and our own tooling machines, engineers and mould makers to develop new products," explains Mr Chan.
Extra Light releases about 100 new designs each year under OEM terms for big European retailers such as IKEA, ranging from table lamps to wall-mounted lighting. "We have a policy of not selling the same products to companies operating in the same market, because our customers don't want to see their products also being offered by competitors," notes Mr Chan.
The firm aims at the medium- to high-end of the market with contemporary lighting items such as the G9 40W halogen desk lamp (model EL-8203A) and the GX53 9W energy-saving bulb desk lamp (model EL-8128A).
Both styles feature an adjustable arm and rotation head, and are available in a colour choice of chrome and nickel, brass, titan, white and black. "The halogen lamp costs about US$13 FOB Hong Kong, while the energy-saving bulb model sells for approximately US$15," Mr Chan adds.
Energy-efficient lighting is also a primary objective of relative newcomer Zenith Lighting Co Ltd, an OEM/ODM operation that has been developing a niche in LED lighting products since 2005.
Its products range from desktop lamps for the consumer market to ceiling lights, track lights and downlights for commercial, industrial and governmental applications.
"Traditional technology like incandescent bulbs is a white elephant," claims Manager Kelvin Shea. "Energy-saving bulbs are the second generation of lighting and we like to say we specialise in the third generation - LEDs."
He says technological advances mean that LEDs are becoming ever brighter and more energy-efficient. "We are using 3W LEDs and one LED bulb has a lifespan of 50,000 hours," advises Mr Shea, adding that "sky-high" LED prices will decrease as production costs drop.
The firm has been successfully selling small table lamps and clip-on lights to Japan since 2006, primarily through electronics/electrical goods shopping malls.
One own-design desktop lamp that Zenith developed in 2007 for sale in Europe is model ZD-07004, a sleek tabletop light made of aluminium and chromated metal that offers anti-rusting properties and a better colour.
Fitted with six, cool white Cree-brand LEDs known for their reliability and brightness and unit-priced at US$70 FOB Hong Kong, the lamp exemplifies the company's commitment to creating high-quality, cutting-edge products.
"We develop our own circuits, electronic components and metal parts," says Mr Shea, "and we are the first company to have KEMA certification, which means we meet high standards in the production process as well as in our products."
Lighting, office equipment and power tool manufacturer Winsource Industries Ltd is also responding to the worldwide shift away from incandescent lights by offering LED and energy-saving table lamps, pendant lamps and spotlights.
The OEM/ODM company's lamps cover the full price spectrum, from US$3.50-25.00 FOB Hong Kong, depending whether the bulbs are China-made or from a brand name manufacturer.
One example of its in-house design team's expertise is model 4031CE, an ODM, silver-coloured table lamp made of steel with a single 3W LED that offers better brightness for reading.
"It is available in a matt or shiny finish, and colours such as white or brushed nickel," says Senior Sales Executive Suzanne Ms Yeung, noting the lamp is unit-priced at US$9-12.
Model 8910DC is also an ODM table lamp that features an E14 energy-saving bulb available in either warm or cool white and costs US$7.50-9.00.
The company complies with RoHS guidelines and does not use toxic materials in production. "We can also test our products in-house to ensure they meet TUV and ITS standards, which helps save time on obtaining approvals," says Ms Yeung.
Winsource will continue to develop trendy items for the middle and high-end market segments, but a slowing global economy is becoming an increasing challenge. "We are now making more promotional items with cheaper prices in order to stimulate consumers to buy our products," says Ms Yeung.
Hong Kong lighting manufacturers are obviously committed to playing their part in saving the planet by giving the green light to attractive, energy-efficient table lamps.
TEXT BY HELEN WONG