A big green light for Israel’s Metrolight

Metrolight has developed a new kind of ballast that not only extends the life of the lamp, but also makes industrial lighting more efficient. Cities and companies in the US are concerned about energy usage. Not only does consuming excessive …

Metrolight has developed a new kind of ballast that not only extends the life of the lamp, but also makes industrial lighting more efficient. Cities and companies in the US are concerned about energy usage. Not only does consuming excessive electricity to cover lighting costs for streetlights and stores, affect the bottom line, it also takes a toll on the environment.

Now Netanya-based company Metrolight has a “green” lighting solution that will be easier on the accounting books and also the earth. The company has engineered a lighting control system that prolongs the life of industrial high-intensity discharge (HID) lights, while making them more efficient at the same time.

HID lights are the most common type of lights used in city streetlights. They are also found in grocery stories and shopping malls. Brighter than fluorescent, HID lights suffer quickly from wear and tear, via an igniting and operating mechanism known as a ballast.

Through its flagship product, the Smart Electronic Ballast, Metrolight has developed a new kind of ballast that not only extends the life of the lamp, but which can make industrial lighting more efficient. Up to 65 percent more efficient, the company says.

Metrolight has been in the business since 1996, and after seeing the success of its product in the global marketplace, it now has a bold ambition of reducing America’s (and the world’s) total energy consumption by three percent. This equals the CO2 pollution emitted by 65 million cars, and millions – if not billions – of dollars in savings.

The company claims to have already saved its customers about $6.5 million.

“We are selling energy savings,” says Metrolight’s CTO Jonathan Hollander, who has helped develop the ballast. He explains that the traditional magnetic ballasts used in HID lights, quickly reduce the output of the light by about 50 percent. To compensate, as a rule, light designers install lights that are stronger than necessary.

This is wasteful, reasons Hollander. “Light designers know this and will overshoot,” he tells ISRAEL21c.

To keep the HID light strong and long lasting, the core of Metrolight’s solution is its ballast, which controls the light ignition process slowly, by not destroying the electrode, says Hollander. In technical-speak he says: “We operate the lamp with a high frequency regime.”

According to a 2002 US Department of Energy report, lighting amounts to about 22 percent of all electricity used in America. Of that, HID lights account for 26 percent of lighting energy, or about six percent of the total energy used in lighting. If Metrolight can save up to 65 percent of six percent, the company estimates about three percent of America’s total energy costs can be conserved.

Cities in the US are using the solution, so is the Tenafly Racquet Club in New Jersey and the Carlsberg beer factory in Israel. Metrolight reports that some 250 thousand ballasts have been installed in locations around the world.

“When we realized that what we do has the potential to save energy, this was something that we were excited about,” says Hollander. “We want to save three percent of the world’s energy. That is a huge amount of savings. We are concerned about the world we live in and try to minimize damage, and Metrolight is an effective way to do that.”

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