There is a reason Dallas, Texas is known to be the Mercury Vapor moonlighting capitol of the world. The “architect” of utilizing high voltage lighting in residential landscape lighting applications founded the concept in Dallas, Texas over 50 years ago.
Drive by virtually any affluent neighborhood in Dallas, Texas such as Park Cities, Lakewood, or Preston Hollow, at night and you will see vast amounts of mercury vapor used for Landscape Lighting in Dallas.
The light rendering high voltage lighting gives off bluish green hue and has been coined the term “moonlighting” although in reality renders nothing remotely close too a natural soft moonlighting effect at night. Some folks think this type of lamp makes everything look ghoulish.
Drive by these same Dallas, Texas homes during the day and you will find lawns cluttered with bulky electric junction boxes, unnatural electrical conduit piping, and beautiful native trees embarked upon with huge fixtures, tree mount boxes, j-boxes, and other unsightly power supplies and components.
Dallas landscape lighting home owners who have mercury vapor systems or high voltage systems installed on their property have recently come across a challenging predicament. The traditional mercury vapor bulb ballasts that are required to run mercury vapor bulbs are no longer being manufactured.
The U.S. congress passed, and President Bush signed into law, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 prohibiting the manufacturing or sale of high voltage lighting ballasts as of January 1, 2008. Mercury Vapor is being phased out to protect the environment and to promote energy efficiency in lighting.
High Voltage bulbs loose over 50% efficacy (A measurement of how many lumens a lamp produces per watt consumed) within 5 years. In fact mercury vapor technology is over a half century old and has the worst lamp efficacy compared to any other light source. Therefore, it was just a matter of time before this dinosaur of lighting was outlawed.
What challenges does this new law present for home owners who run this type of landscape lighting system in Dallas, Texas?
In a nutshell,
So, what are my options you may ask?
Be cautious when your lighting expert/electrician tells you that you can simply change out a fixture: The fact is: mercury vapor or high voltage bulbs were only manufactured for use with mercury vapor ballasts.
Some will tell you that there is a comparable metal halide lamp. Compared to what? Metal Halide is nothing more than street lamp. Do you want a street lamp on your lawn or in your tree? A street lamp is street lamp no matter how you compare it, although it may be a great consideration if you are parking cars on your lawn.
A metal halide lamp will not work with mercury vapor ballasts. Someone may recommend replacing your mercury vapor ballasts with metal halide ballasts. What they don’t tell you is that dual rated ballasts listing dual applications for metal halide and mercury vapor will be changed so that mercury vapor is no longer listed for use with these products. The use of a high voltage lamp with ballasts not listed for use with mercury vapor lamp will violate UL listing and void all warranties.
Inevitably, all mercury vapor or high voltage systems used for Dallas landscape lighting systems and across the U.S. will be phased out as mercury vapor ballasts fail.
So in reality, Dallas homeowners utilizing mercury vapor type landscape lighting systems are faced with only a couple of real solutions when replacing their mercury vapor system.
: quick fix, more efficient than mercury vapor, great for parking, hunting
costly to Install, costly to run, high voltage, bulky electric junction boxes, unnatural electrical conduit piping, and beautiful native trees embarked upon with huge fixtures, tree mount boxes, j-boxes, and other unsightly power supplies and components, no flexibility for changes in landscape, flood light
: Do away with all unsightly eyesores (bulky electric junction boxes, unnatural electrical conduit piping, and beautiful native trees embarked upon with huge fixtures, tree mount boxes, j-boxes, and other unsightly power supplies and components) low Cost, very energy-efficient & environmentally friendly, blends in with the landscape, very flexible as landscape changes over time, customized for effect utilizing various fixtures, lamp specifications, professional lighting techniques & design, 10 year warranty