Michael Kanellos of Cnetnews.com reports that Fiberstars, an Ohio-based company, has come up with a way to combine industrial-grade lamps with fiber-optic technology to create interior lighting systems that consume far less energy than traditional fluorescent or incandescent bulbs. A single 70-watt metal halide high-intensity discharge lamp from Fiberstars linked to the company’s fiber system can provide as much lighting as eight 50-watt incandescent bulbs.
Rising electricity prices, combined with new regulations could push EFO (efficient fiber optics) lighting closer toward the mainstream. One major obstacle is that an EFO system is more expensive than regular lighting systems, however the lower electricity bills pay back the price premium in two or fewer years according to a 2005 test conducted by Souther California Edison in Fullerton, California.
Even with the premium, regulations may prompt businesses to adopt the technology. Federal and state mandates have cracked down on the amount of electricity different businesses can consume or the type of lights they install. Texas, Massachusetts and some other states are also offering rebates for installing fiber lights. A similar regulatory change prompted appliance makers to develope energy-efficient refrigerators, dryers and washing machines in the 1970s that are now dominant in the field.
Fiberstars makes all of the major components in its lighting system, including the light source, the fiber-optic cable and the integrated optics that distribute the light.