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The Light Solution

Today's fluorescent lighting could be the right fit for hotel design.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Scott Kauffman
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With energy consumption a growing concern in parts of the country, hoteliers and other commercial enterprises are increasingly subject to regulatory codes that limit wattage output per square foot.

As hotel companies continue to take a closer look at these issues, Jeff Nepsa sees a growing market for fluorescent lighting. Nepsa, commercial sales manager/western region for American Fluorescent Corp., said his company’s lighting is not only more energy compliant and cost effective, but designers no longer have to sacrifice their overall look and appeal when making the move to fluorescent.

In other words, the days of conveniently replacing incandescent lighting with not-so befitting “off-the-shelf” fluorescent bulbs and fixtures are over.

“I’m guessing in the next 5-10 years we won’t be seeing any of them (standard incandescent lighting manufacturers),” said Nepsa, whose Waukegan, Ill.-based company has been making fluorescent lights for 72 years. “Instead of taking traditional lighting fixtures and screwing in an incandescent replacement, what we’re focused on is actually building light fixtures that are designed around that fluorescent light bulb. That actually gives you some pretty distinct advantages in appearance, design and other things.”

Like dramatically reduced energy bills, for starters. For example, converting a typical corridor of lighting that might have 15 wall sconces to 15 fluorescent fixtures at 13 watts each could save about $475 a year, based on the original 60-watt bulbs, according to Nepsa.

Besides the significant cost savings, Nepsa said modern-day fluorescent lighting can enhance a hotel room’s overall look, especially when fluorescent fixtures are implemented from the outset. In his travels, Nepsa frequently sees a bathroom vanity that has five lights over the mirror with the incandescent bulb exposed.

“Now, if you’re just replacing that with something you bought at, say, Home Depot and you’re screwing in that twirly light bulb as a replacement, it doesn’t look good and nobody wants to see that,” Nepsa said. “It’s also very glary and not comfortable to the eye to look at those things.

“So we’re actually designing products that utilize that lampshade, or adding a piece of acrylic diffuser or something that’s going to spread the light out and make it soft. If you’re talking about a bowl pendant over the top of an entryway, you don’t want to look up and see the light bulb shining through the glass. You want that bulb to be a nice even illumination. Not designing around the lamps those are the kinds of things we’re seeing all the time.”

Nepsa said his company’s fluorescent lighting has come so far that many people look up at his light fixtures and mistake them for incandescent.

“I think the focus is just starting to shift,” Nepsa said.
Scott Kauffman
Hotel Interactive® Editorial Division

Bio: Scott Kauffman is a leading journalist on golf course development and luxury resort and real estate development worldwide. Kauffman has 25 years of journalism experience, including full-time writing and editing positions with the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, USA Today and Orlando Sentinel newspapers, and Golfweek Group magazines. Over the last 12 years, the award-winning writer has specialized in golf course real estate and resort development and been published by more than 30 regional ...
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