Catch the WaveStream™ – What?

a guest post by Lisa J. Reed, Lighting Designer

Cooper Lighting Skyridge with Wavestream Technology


Eaton's Cooper Lighting is rolling out product after product these days boasting "WaveStream" technology. What exactly is WaveStream, and why should you care?

At Lightfair 2012, Cooper Lighting's special booth generated lots of buzz. "It was the best thing I saw…you’ve got to go see it!" I'm going, I decided, but not until the lines are shorter. It was like an amusement park ride. People were waiting in a line that snaked around the booth for a peek inside at the mysterious and futuristic lighting phenom now known as WaveStream. The buzz continued in 2013, and now the products are finally becoming a commercial reality.

What is it? Well, basically, it is a sheet of light transmitting injection-molded material with embedded optics to transmit light from an LED point across an edge-lit surface with super even illumination. When you look at a 2x2 fixture like the Encounter, now available from Metalux, it will not knock your socks off. It simply looks like a troffer should look. Even light. No hot spots. The new SkyRidge takes advantage of the technology and begins to shift away from the typical troffer form factor. The light all emanates from the center ridge of the fixture for a unique appearance, while further reducing cost and energy consumption.

Why should you care? The efficiency of the WaveStream product and its ability to create a glowing surface with ample lumen output and a minimal number of LEDs is where things become interesting. Fewer LEDs means lower cost and an LED fixture that saves energy over a fluorescent system. A low-cost energy saving office lighting solution will be the key to LED fixtures actually grabbing market share from fluorescents. Until now, installation of LED troffers have been limited to niche markets with savvy owners who want to be on the leading edge.

WaveStream technology turns an LED weakness into an LED strength. It does what we should be doing with LEDs. The directional nature of an LED diode does not lend itself to fluorescent tube or other non-directional source replacements. But WaveStream steps back, looks at the natural properties of LED, and plays to its strengths. The result is a more efficient product with less glare, dimming capabilities, and the potential for great lighting quality.

But this is just the beginning. The creative application of the technology is what piques my interest as a lighting designer. What other shapes can we create? How will our definition of "luminaire" change with the development of this and other technologies that take advantage of LED strengths?


Lisa J Reed photo - Lighting Blog

Lisa J. Reed has been attracted to lighting (like a moth to a flame) for 20+ years. She is the Founding Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC in St. Louis, where she designs, teaches, and writes about architectural lighting.


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