What if there was a green option for lighting which was incredibly efficient?
What if one, just one single light bulb could be the singular light source for multiple lights?
This is how fiber optic lighting works. A single LED, Halogen or Metal Halide bulb is housed in an illuminator, also called a motor or engine.This illuminator usually has a cooling fan and motor to operate a color wheel. (Now you understand why me, the color girl, goes crazy over this.)
There are different types of fiber optic cable
whether the end result uses side-emitting
or end emitting light
and how far away from the illuminator the light has to travel. We are talking yards or meters. Depending on the amount of end light locations, the corresponding number of fiber optic cables are connected to the illuminator as shown in the first picture. This is how one light bulb delivers clear crisp light to multiple light fixtures from a centralized location.
Above photos via Fiberstars (hey – they were my chosen company years ago on my final paper for lighting and they are still going strong.)
Fiber takes a lot of forethought and design in terms of function, fixture location, illuminator location and switching locations. It is perfect for lighting artwork or other heat sensitive items because fiber is completely cool to the touch. This makes it handy indoors or out. Click here for photos from Disney’s Epcot.
Here I put fiber optic cable in a fishbowl to illustrate its safety in water. Sparky (the fish) lived, it was Vanity (the cat who finally got the best of him.
Besides being incredibly efficient and functional it is also makes for a great artistic installation. This is what happens when an interior designer is friends with a lighting designer.
Swirls on the ceiling which change colors in a dark media room was my idea of fun. Note the ends do not throb like this in real life, it is the camera.
The illuminator is housed in an unused attic on another floor. There is a wall switch for the light and one to run the color wheel. Ahh, toys for adults. One more thing to add to the lighting idea file.
Seriously though fiber optic lighting is great for interior or exterior use in both residential and commercial applications. It is a bit high-end for home use, depending on what you want to achieve. But for businesses the installation costs can be offset with significant energy reductions resulting in a cost savings over time. Fiber optics allow lighting to be a very creative element in an interior or exterior.