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Why 277 volts for lighting?

by Elizabeth Karpinski 10 June, 2015 03:38

277 Volts is the input power of choice for most industrial and commercial applications. High voltage lighting is better from an efficiency standpoint. Higher voltage means less current, which means less power loss from resistance as stated in  Ohm’s and Joule’s laws.

Ohm’s law:  Voltage = Current*Resistance

Joule’s law: Power = Voltage*Current


High voltage lighting means you can put more lighting fixtures on a given circuit because voltage drop is less of a concern. This means these lights are ideal for areas with a lot of lighting fixtures close together: think warehouses, offices, restaurants, hotels, schools, and even hospitals.

Most industrial facilities get their power in a 480/277 volt 3 phase 4 wire system, because 277 is the phase-to-neutral voltage for 480’s phase-to-phase. The 480 volt wiring is generally used to power large industrial equipment, and the 277 volt wiring powers industrial scale lighting. These two voltages tend to go together because you do not need a transformer to use the 277 voltage, which cuts down on energy and construction costs.

Bulbs.com offers a variety of compact fluorescent (CFL) and LED lamps for use with 277 voltage input.

277 Volt Compact Fluorescent

277 volt compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFL) have incredible energy efficiency: these CFLs  use 75% less energy than their incandescent equivalents while still producing the same brightness.

With a 10,000 hour average rated life CFLs can last up to 10 times longer than an incandescent lamp.

However, CFLs are not recommended for use in enclosed fixtures or for use with control devices such as sensors or dimmers, which may shorten the lamp’s life.

277 Volt Linear T8 LEDs

Philips 120-277 volt Instantfit Linear T8 LEDs are compatible with instant start ballasts, so there’s no need for an electrician to rewire. Simply insert the lamp into the fixture and you’re done! Philips T8 LEDs are ideal for existing fluorescent fixtures. They are suitable for damp locations, and anywhere the ambient temperature is between -4°F and 113°F.

They don’t contain glass or mercury, so they are completely safe, even in the event of breakage.

277 Volt PAR38 LEDs

277 volt PAR38 LEDs are perfect for use in recessed cans and other applications where flood lamps may be used.

Plus, LEDs have a very long life: rated to put out 70% as much light after 25,000 hours of operation as they do when they’re brand new.

LED PAR lamps are not recommended for use in fully enclosed fixtures because the heat buildup may shorten their life. Do not “hot swap” LEDs—turn off the fixture before replacing existing bulbs.

277 Volt A-19 LEDs

277 volt A-19 omnidirectional LEDs provide quality light while only using 9 watts of energy- the same brightness as a 60 watt incandescent bulb.

These ENERGY STAR qualified LEDs are rated to still produce 70% of their original light even after their rated life of 25,000 hours of operation.

LEDs are not recommended for use in fully enclosed fixtures because the heat buildup may shorten their life. Also, do not “hot swap” LED lamps —turn off the fixture before replacing existing bulbs.

If you have any questions about the products mentioned here or would like to know more about the Benefits of LED lighting or 277 volt applications, please contact one of our certified Lighting Specialists at 888-455-2800.


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