Lamps put glow on savings

BUSINESSES can save a bundle and make a contribution to the environment of Hong Kong simply through energy-saving lighting systems.

One of the leaders in this area is Philips Lighting with its range of halogen and long-lasting lamps.

Wallace Ha, product manager of the lamps and lighting division at Philips, said: 'In the past, people chose energy-saving lamps because they were good at figures and knew they saved money - green was not a major issue.' But, over the past two years, environmental factors had become a criteria - for example in lighting installation.

Philips has helped illuminate the Hong Kong Stadium, Discovery Bay Golf course, Sha Tin race course, the bronze Buddha statue at the Po Lin Monastery and the Bank of China.

Philips offers 11 types of energy-saving lamps where fluorescent tubes are bent into compact sizes.

These lamps are popular among Hong Kong retail chains, hotels, property management companies and shopping plazas.

'Some households will use them but the majority are bought by the commercial sector,' Mr Ha said.

'Institutional buyers are professionally able to calculate the cost versus the savings but, for households, they do not care too much about the pay-back because they are only using the lights for an average of six hours a day.' Philips is involved in two pilot projects to promote energy consciousness.

It is working with China Light & Power to put energy-saving lamps into about 1,000 homes at the Laguna City estates in Lam Tin and to then evaluate the results. Households taking part in the voluntary project can buy the lamps at 70 per cent below list price.

Philips is also helping Friends of the Earth with a year-long project to teach 7,200 households at the Hau Tak Estate in Junk Bay to save energy.

'One of the objectives of Philips is to go green,' Mr Ha said.

'It will be a good chance to promote energy-saving lamps to the households.' The company also markets the most energy-saving halogen lamps in the world.

One of its new fluorescent lamps combines a more constant light output over lamp life with an 80 per cent lower mercury content.

A recently introduced lamp lasts 60,000 hours and costs up to $10,000 a piece. If used 12 hours a day, each lamp will last 13.6 years.

'These are used in places where it is difficult to replace lamps, like on a bridge,' Mr Ha said.

Philips' most recent technological breakthrough has been based on a thin fluorescent tube that is only 16 millimetres in diameter - compared with lamps that are 26 mm in diameter.

This product uses 20 per cent less energy than the previous model.

According to the company, less raw materials are needed to make the lamp.

Stephen Sin, marketing manager for Philips' professional light and system department, said many people in Hong Kong were well aware of the advantages of energy-saving lighting.

'Over the years, because of the new release of products, architects and consultants actually specify these products,' Mr Sin said.

Philips is a sponsor of the Business, Industry and Environment Conference.

Some of the company's energy-saving products will be displayed at its booth during the conference at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.