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Cree's LEDs Get Into Home Lighting Applications

Lighting fixture supplier Permlight introduces a range of LED-based luminaires designed for residential use that feature Cree's XLamps.

LEDs from chip manufacturer Cree are set to feature in a new line of residential products from solid-state lighting specialist Permlight Products.

California-based Permlight's "Enbryten" luminaires are in-wall fixtures designed for indirect lighting of hallways, stairwells and bathrooms. They feature nine of Cree's 1 W warm-white XLamp packaged LEDs.

Cree's Mark McClear, who is the marketing director of lighting LED products at the Durham, NC, company, says that the 1 W devices are the "sweet spot" for solid-stating lighting. This is because they deliver a reasonable degree of illumination without the large amount of heat that higher-power devices produce.

"350 mA (1 W) is the optimal drive current for light output, power dissipation, and overall cost and complexity of the design," said McClear at February's Strategies in Light conference.

Permlight's lamps feature a thermally-managed LED module that allows the LEDs to run cool for long periods. This helps to extend the useful lifetime of the lamps, which depends largely on the junction temperature of the light emitter as the devices dim with time. Similar to regular lightbulbs, the LED module can also be replaced easily by residents, simply by using a screwdriver.

Makers of high-brightness white LEDs now see general lighting as a critical market to ensure future growth as mobile phone applications, currently the dominant sector, become increasingly commoditized (see related story).

While solid-state lighting is becoming widely deployed in architectural and special lighting applications, it is yet to make much of an impact in the average home, largely because of the high cost of the technology compared with incandescent and fluorescent lamps.

Permlight's new in-wall fixtures will sell for just $125 in bulk, a price point that could attract many Californians.

In another move that could help to usher in the technology, the Golden State recently passed the "Title 22" law, banning disposal of compact fluorescent lamps in standard trash to reduce mercury levels in the environment.

"Our LED systems are competing both in fixture cost, lifetime, and State and federally-mandated disposal laws," said Permlight CEO Manuel Lynch.

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