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Evaluation of New Energy Efficient-Lighting Technologies for Poultry Housing

4 October 2011, at 12:00am

All the energy-efficient lamps tested at the University of Delaware used less energy than standard incandescent ones but one of the new types was less durable than expected. Incandescent lamps will be phased out in the United States from next year and producers are looking for the best alternatives.


Lighting impacts the behaviour, growth and reproduction of poultry, according to Eric Benson and Robert Alphin of the University of Delaware in a report for research sponsored by the US Poultry & Egg Association. They explain that artificial lighting is extensively used in raising commercial poultry. Incandescent lamps, one of the most common forms of lamps in the United States, are being phased out, starting in 2012. This leaves new roles for other lighting technologies, including cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL), compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and light-emitting diodes (LED).

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The objective of their project was to determine the reliability, intensity and floor light patterns of new low-wattage light bulbs for use in poultry housing.

In 2007 to 2008, a lighting test apparatus was developed to allow simultaneous rapid durability testing of up to four replications of four lighting technologies. A vacuum sensor cleared the dust from the sensor during testing. All of the incandescent lamps failed during testing, after an average of 1,968 hours, well above the manufacturer rated 1,500 hours. In contrast, only one of the CCFL failed during testing at 3,312 hours. While this represents double the life-span of incandescent lamps, the CCFL lamp failed at well less than the 8,000 hours typical for CCFL lamps. Three CFL lamps failed at an average of 2,640 hours, much less than the 12,000 hours typical for CFL lamps. No LED lamps failed during testing, which would be expected given the 30,000-hour lifespan typical for LED lamps.

Based on durability, Benson and Alphin concluded that CFL lamps do not meet the expectations and should not be used. CCFL lamps showed reasonable durability and are much less expensive than LED lamps.

All of the lamps showed lumen reduction during testing. LED lamps showed significant lumen decline over time, losing more than 60 per cent of the initial intensity. The lumen degradation profiles for CFL and CCFL lamps also showed lumen decline. However, the loss was lower; and after one year of study, decreased to 75 per cent to 81 per cent of their original light output. This means that providing sufficient light throughout the life of the bulb, the lamps will need to be much brighter than minimum requirement. The LED lamps had a greater lumen reduction and a longer life-span, which makes the problem more acute.

All three types of lamps evaluated were more energy-efficient than incandescent lamps, concluded Benson and Alphin. CFL lamps showed the greatest savings, using an average of 28 per cent of the energy of incandescent lamps. CCFL (30 per cent) and LED (33 per cent) showed similar energy improvements.

October 2011