Energy Efficient Chandelier Lighting

lamb_abbey_orchardsSeptember 8, 2010

I've ordered a fixture for a new home that uses four G9 (75 watt, 120 volt, Bi-Pin Halogen incandescent) bulbs. I'm aware this isn't a particular energy-efficient fixture and am wondering what other options I may have for bulbs that would work in this fixture.

Do alternative bulbs exist to the G9 that will offer the same quality of light, be dimmable, have a relatively long life, and also be less of an energy hog?

This is the creature we're talking about:


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Specs say 1300 lumens at 75 watts, or 17 lumens per watt. If you're after efficiency, that's pretty dismal performance.

By purchasing this fixture, I suspect you've locked yourself into a specialized incandescent lamp with no practical retrofit options. And the spares sure aren't cheap!

Davidtay might have some ideas on LED equivalents, but I can't imagine fitting an integrated LED power supply into a tiny space like that, so most likely they'd require an outboard power supply. David? Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 12:57AM
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Thanks for the input. It's really helpful.

I realize this fixture has a dismal performance from an energy efficiency standpoint, but it would be one of just two fixtures in the house using these bulbs (the other with be the light in a ceiling fan.) I called the manufacturer of the fixture and they said it has to use the G9's because the bowls in which each bulbs sits are quite shallow. The fixture (pictured below) is made by Hubbardton Forge--the folks from whom I'll be getting most of my fixtures. I'd consider going with something else, but I know that the bronze fixture color and stone glass color will be consistent across everything I get from them.

I'm guessing this fixture will simply be a concession I make in order to get the look I'm after.

I'm open to ideas for alternative bulbs to the G9 if you've got any suggestions for a way of making this fixture more efficient. I just don't know my bulb equivalents. Thanks.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 1:13AM
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It's a very nice looking fixture!

The G9 is slightly higher in efficacy than an ordinary A19 lamp. A clear 75W A19 produces around 1150-1200 lumens, so this is a bit better. And it lasts longer, 2000h vs 750h. This is about as good as it gets for incandescent, which I guess isn't saying much. :-(

BTW, it's worth noting that this fixture as fitted (300 watts!) will have a heat output of about 1000 btu/hr, adding something to your summer aircon load.

Going to lower wattage G9s, such as 40W, will reduce the efficacy further, but not as much as dimming the 75 watt G9s.

Looking at the fixture I think the designers could have used more efficient lamp options, had they chosen to do so. However, there is probably not yet enough demand for high efficacy lighting to make it economically practical for a mass-market (or mid-market) manufacturer to design it into a wide range of fixtures.

I'd have to measure to be sure, but a 6" T9 circular fluorescent lamp might fit those shallow bowls. LED would be another (if quite expensive) increased efficacy option.

Retrofitting either of these might indeed be possible. It depends on how brave you are. :) Such a retrofit would require complete rewiring (and perhaps partial redesign) of the fixture. It would probably also void the fixture's warranty (if any) and UL listing (if any).

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 3:49AM
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Thanks for the helpful input. I really like the fixture, too. My main gripe is that I don't know I'll ever have an easy way to upgrade it to LEDs once this technology is cheaper and the kinks have all been ironed out.

Most of the fixtures in my new place will be for incandescents, the majority of which will be using CFLs in the short-term. My plans are to eventually upgrade them to LEDs.

I have to admit, I do hate the idea of having super-efficient lighting throughout the house, yet a chandelier that requires 300 watts. In many ways, they cancel each other out. But I'm trying to look at the big picture here: What will my bottomline electrical usage be for lighting the whole structure? If THAT number seems reasonable, I'm willing to put up with the inefficiency of the chandelier.

I did the calculations and determined that if I turn on every single light in the whole building to its maximum capacity output (which I'd never do in reality), it would require around 2,700 watts for all 76 bulbs. When looked at from that perspective, 300 watts for the chandelier is an acceptable concession to be making, given that everything else will be using an average of 33 watts/bulb.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 5:21PM
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Yes there are LED lights with that sort of base, although the form factor is larger.

Right now, I suspect that the G9 LED replacements are not a high priority for the lighting industry.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 10:46PM
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That's terrific. I appreciate you posting the links. The first link would be the bulb of interest:

I found them listed here as well, for about 30% less:

My biggest concern of course would be the limited light output if I were to stay with the original fixture. I would go from having the capacity for 300 watts of incandescent light to 100 watts. It's probably not enough for my needs.

There's an alternative chandelier by the same manufacturer that may be a great option with these LED G9's. The model I'm thinking of would require 9 of these bulbs. If I went with regular Halogen G9's, the fixture would require a ridiculous 675 watts! If I used the LED G9's instead, I'd end up with the potential equivalent of 225 watts of incandescent light (perfect for my needs) yet would only need 27 watts to juice it. I think that's pretty terrific.

Here's the replacement chandelier:

This really may be a great option, especially considering it would require less than 10% of the electricity of the original fixture. The downside is that this second chandelier is over twice the cost of the one I was originally considering. I guess I'd just need to decide whether I can afford the indulgence.

Thanks for pointing out the LED G9's.


    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 11:27PM
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Good find David! I was hoping you'd have a line on something that I hadn't run across.

One warning, you can't add incandescent equivalence with LED or CF retrofits. This is because efficacy of low wattage incandescents is so pitiful. Four 25 watt incandescents have much, much less light output than one 100-Watt incandescent.

Here, the 2700K LED retrofit has an output of 210 lumens. Total light output for the 4-lamp fixture would then be 840 lumens (minus what the globes absorb). That's a little less than the output of a 60 watt incandescent bulb, not a 100 watt bulb.

Nine of these LED retrofits would produce about 1900 lumens. That is NOT the equivalent of 225 watts of inandescent. Rather, it's just a bit brighter than a 100 watt bulb (which is typically around 1700 lumens).

I'd say that your nine lamp fixture would probably yield enough light for most casual use, but not for tasks.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 1:59AM
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Thanks for the clarification. I guess I'm sticking with the original fixture and the Halogen G9's.

It was at least worth investigating . . .


    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 2:10AM
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