The Retrofit Companies Blog

LED Tunable Lighting - 3 Types

 

LED Tunable LightLEDS Magazine

LED Lighting continues to offer consumers more than just energy efficiency, and with new types of tunable lighting technology becoming more readily available, there are a variety of additional benefits.

LED Luminaires, with the ability to deliver varying light color, have been on the market since early days of LED lighting, but the colors, controls and capabilities keep improving and their applications continue to grow. The US Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy states that these technologies are proving to have benefits beyond energy efficiency and may in fact improve environments and conditions in schools, hospitals, residential spaces and more.

Here we explore tunable lighting in general, the areas we are seeing this technology, and why you would want to consider putting tunable lighting in your business.

 

3 Categories of Color-Tunable Products

 

Dim to Warm

light scale

Lightology

 

  • These are also referred to as "blackbody dimming" or "incandescent-like" dimming
  • These products mimic incandescent or halogen dimming performance. They usually range from 2700K-3000K at full output down to as low as 1800K. The light color becomes increasingly warmer as the products dims.
  • These products are often used in places where you want a whiter light in the day, but a warmer light in the evening: restaurants, hotel lobbies and guestrooms, ballrooms, theaters and residential spaces.
  • Because dimming is linked to color changing in this type, Dim to Warm products only use one control signal per group of fixtures/luminaires. These can be equipped with a wireless receiver for control by a wireless transmitter.
  • A potential issue with these products is that some users want to reduce light output without changing color, and in that case white-tunable may be a better choice.

TRC Lighting Case Studies

White Tunable

white tunable

LightShowWest

  • These are also referred to as "tunable-white" or "kelvin-changing"
  • These products have two sets of phosphor-coated LED primaries; one with a warm-white color (around 2700K) and the second with a cool-white (between 5000k and 6500K).
  • By controlling the two different LED's (up or down), you can create a straight line that connects them on a "chromaticity diagram." This is called linear white tuning.
  • There are also luminaries that use three or more LEDs, which allows the capability to produce a wider range of color. These do not create a straight line, but follow the blackbody curve, much like the dim to warm version (called nonlinear white tuning). The colors created on the chromaticity diagram are not what you see.
  • White tuning is used for a range of reasons, including providing apparent cooling or warming to a room, providing a psychological effect, such as using cool-colored lights to make occupants feel cooler on a hot summers day, or to calm or invigorate students in a classroom. 
  • These products are often selected when a space undergoes a renovation or interior design remodel and the lighting needs to adjust to a new theme or color palette. White tuning is great in retails, and is also used to simulate daylight or match color of daylight in a windowed lobby, for example, or to assist with behavior control.
  • Potential issues include the fact that the control interface can be more complicated. Controlling two separate lights with the same switch, or two different switches, depending on preference, creates for more difficult wiring of the controls versus a fixed color LED.Consult a Lighting Professional

Full Color Tunable

full color tuningArchLighting

  • These are also known as "spectrally tunable" or "color changing"
  • Full color tunable products are just as they sound; full color and full tuning. These are the most versitile of the options, allowing you to completely change the space at any given time (from dim white to bright purple)
  • These products usually have three or more different LED primaries that can be individually varied in output to create a mixture of light that is white, a tint of white or a saturated hue.
  • The minimum for full-color tuning is three, but full color tunable systems have 4, 5, 6 or even 7 color systems for even more unique colors of individual LED’s.
  • You will find these in such applications such a theaters, theme parks, arcades or restaurants.
  • Full color tunable requires a more complex control interface, and must be powered separately from the luminaire.
  • Potential issues with full color tunable include initial and reprogramming of these controls are hard to handle in-house and require a professional. It is also easy to skew colors and oversaturate or undersaturate a space if not tuned correctly.

Cost of a Retrofit? Download Free ebook

What Are The Advantages of Tunable Lighting?

 

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Specifier

Light regulates our circadian rhythm, effecting our emotional and physical being. As the sun come sup the light levels increase and become cooler, helping us become more awake and active, and as the sun goes down, light levels decrease and become warmer preparing us for sleep. Both the intensity and spectrum of light can be used to stimulate or suppress hormones such as melatonin, impacting our mood, alertness and health. The ability to control interior light to affect the attitude, happiness, effectiveness and productivity of a person or group is an amazing advancement in technology.

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Tunable white is often used in schools giving teachers the adjusting light setting for given activities, with a remote or a switch on the wall. Many classroom studies suggest that the color and intensity of light can be modified to calm or invigorate students, or to focus their attention, and even provide a less stressful environment for students, while improving the overall learning environment.

Tunable Lighting in 3 TExas Classrooms

Many school districts are implementing this type of technology in special needs classrooms, replacing the need for the cloth curtain over the light fixture. TRC helped upgrade a small clasroom at McGuire Middle School (Lakeville, MN) to tunable lighting and we have received excellent feedback.

 

Tunable LED Elementary School Case Study & Videos

 

 
 

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Lighting Controls Association

Tunable light is also being introduced in conference rooms to set the tone of the meeting, from intense to happy hour, in healthcare settings to help with the regulation of biological clocks, and retailers to better showcase colors that pop or better engage customers by adjusting lighting on demand.

 

You may also see tunable light popping up in Senior Living Facilities, such as this study conducted in Sacramento, CA. The study discusses the variety of products implemented throughout the facility and the variety of color temperatures utilized and their effects.

 

Senior Living TUnable Light Case STudy

 

Lighting Customer Testimonials

 

Tariffs - The Rising Impact On Your Lighting Project

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What ARe Tariffs

 

Tariffs are essentially taxes on imported and exported goods. Tariffs date back centuries, however the most pressing issues on tariffs in the US are primarily focused on the continuing trade war with China, and other nations. The cost of delaying a lighting project could grow exponentially as tariffs continue to rise.

 

Consult a Lighting Professional

What's the Latest in Tariffs?

 

Tariff’s have been a growing concern for American importers since President Donald Trump’s first two rounds of tariffs on Chinese goods earlier this year. 

Most recently, Trump imposed a round of tariffs in September that covered $200 billion worth of goods, including everything from furniture, food seasonings, network routers and industrial machine parts. 

These tariffs impose a 10% increase, however they are estimated to increase to 25% by the end of the year. In addition to tariffs imposed earlier this year, the new penalties account for nearly 50% of the products that China sells to the US every year will be impacted by American tariffs. Trump’s administration states the tariffs are meant to punish China for alleged unfair trade practices, including intellectual property theft.

 

How Are Tariffs Impacting the Lighting Industry

 

Some argue that new tariffs could contribute to the reshoring of manufacturing jobs in the US, however many manufacturing and engineering companies are suffering from these new laws.

Specifically, the most impactful tariff will be the 25% tax on steel and 10% tax on aluminum, which most certainly impacts imported items such as LED fixtures, lamps, and lighting components. These costs will have a direct impact on the cost of any lighting upgrade project, and will likely increase the longer you wait.

Some manufacturers will need to take a new approach in manufacturing in order to keep prices in check or to engage the supply chain to source cheaper parts or different materials. In the mean-time, these additional costs are manifesting themselves throughout the process, often to the end user.

Consult a Lighting Professional

If you want more information on how these tariffs may impact your lighting project, please consult one of our experts and we will discuss the details with you.

 

3 Types of Linear LED Tubes

3 LED tubes

CONFUSED ABOUT DIFFERENT TYPES OF LINEAR LED TUBES?

We break down the 3 most common types of T8 and T5 LED tubes used in LED lighting retrofit projects and their various pros and cons.

Consult a Lighting Professional

TYPE A LINEAR LED TUBES

 

Does your facility, such as a gymnasium, commercial or industrial building, have high ceilings?

Type A LED tube

Type A lamps are a good solution in many applications because of the increased ability to control the light via ballast factor.This is currently the only LED T8 lamp system that is capable of matching a T8 system operating on a high ballast factor.

Type A lamps are a fluorescent ballast compatible lamp with exceptions. These exceptions are expansive, in fact almost every manufacturer suggests consulting their list of compatibilities before installing LED T8 tubes. We have found that there are even scenarios where the LED lamp product is not compatible with ballasts from the same manufacturer.

 Additional benefits of Type A lamps are that they come in different wattages and beam angles, and lumen output for this type can be controlled by the existing ballast: Low Power (LP), Normal Power (NP), and High Power (HP). Most often, these lamps are installed as a simple “relamp” project, but it is important to consider the age of your ballasts when choosing this type. If you intend to change ballasts the week after you install these LED lamps, that may undermine the goals and objectives of your project. Whether or not type A is going to be the best solution for your project depends greatly on your maintenance story.

 

TYPE B LINEAR LED TUBES

 

Type B lamps are seeing a lot of changes in the industry due to their many risks.

Type B led tube

We are still seeing issues with the direct wire single-ended lamps, which require the ballast to be removed and the socket wired directly to line voltage. Risks include the possibility of lamp failure, sparks and even fires. These single-ended lamps may have been previously chosen to reduce maintenance time, but they pose such a large safety risk that the industry is shifting towards the double-ended lamp.

Double-ended Type B lamps mitigate many of the safety concerns because there is no longer a way for the electrical current to travel across the lampholder. This includes a situation where you install a fluorescent lamp . You also no longer have to install an unshunted socket due to the dual-end nature of the new lamps.

Some of the main downfalls of the new version of these lamps are that they are very limited in lumen output options (generally two light levels) and that there currently are no known lamps on the market that can reach high output light levels required in the applications mentioned above.

Another common downfall of Type B LED lamps is the "flicker" factor. This is an issue that used to be prevalent with T12 and was basically eliminated by T8 solutions. It has now come back with the Type B tubes, but it is not prevalent in Type A or Type C solutions. There are a couple of manufacturers that have come out with a flicker-free type B solution, but options are limited. The flicker is unnoticeable to many, but with some segments of the population it can be very debilitating (causing headaches, nausea, etc). 

TRC Lighting Case Studies

TYPE c LINEAR LED TUBES

 

Type C's are really the only “true LED system” among the T8 lamp options. 

Type C led tubeType C Lamps are an LED lamp with a fixture mounted driver, with drivers now available with three different standard outputs as well as programmable for more/less output depending on required light levels. The Type C lamp is similar to an LED fixture in that you have a light engine and a separate driver.

Type C's typically offer the longest life, and dimming capability that the others do not. The reason they’re not chosen as often is due to their higher price point. Total cost of owning a lighting system should be evaluated when considering whether these are your best investment. The type C lamp has just recently achieved controllability using different Mili-amp Drivers. The drivers are more expensive, but in some instances the will achieve a higher lamp life rating 60,000 versus 50,000 hours.

Type C lamps have their benefits, but as with Type B, most of the market offerings do not capture the high lumen output category. The other issue we have discovered with Type C is that virtually none of the systems are cross-compatible across manufacturers. This means that you could potentially be stuck with the manufacturer and product line that they have installed in the facility. You would most likely not be able to find a lamp or a driver from a different manufacturer that works with your existing system down the road if that system is discontinued, or the manufacturer goes out of business, in many cases resulting in a completely new system investment.

Consult a Lighting Professional

While linear LED lamps are popular now, that does not mean that it is the only option, or always the best option when upgrading to LED. You should consult a lighting professional to ensure that you are aware of all of the pros and cons for all options available to ensure you are meeting all of your project goals. 

 

Case Study - ISD #299 Caledonia Public Schools LED Upgrade

 

 

 

 

 

Case Study Interview and Project Spotlight with Craig Ihrke, ISD #299 Caledonia Public Schools Superintendent,
and Lee Morem, Facilities Director
LED Lighting Upgrade, Retrofit Light Fixtures, New LED Technology, Energy Savings

 

Project Overview

ISD #299 Caledonia Public Schools prides themselves on empowering learners for life and their strong ties to the community. In a school district serving Caledonia and the surrounding areas, it became abundantly clear to superintendent Craig Ihrke and his team that providing a welcoming environment was a necessity. “There are a lot of things that add to the pride in our schools, and lighting is certainly one of those things, said Craig Ihrke, superintendent of Caledonia Schools. 

A complete LED lighting retrofit across both buildings “provides a brighter, more welcoming environment, but more importantly it provides a lot of energy savings. We could save up to $10,000 annually,” said Ihrke.  

Middle_High School Sign

Caledonia Area Middle School and High School 

 

The most important factor for Caledonia Schools, which include Caledonia Elementary School and the combined building for Caledonia Middle and High School, was really focusing on the potential energy savings across both buildings. Lee Morem, Facilities Director at Caledonia Schools said “The Retrofit Companies, Inc. (TRC) helped us decide that retrofitting the lights was the best course of action, and the most economical. It has been a wonderful experience to see the buildings transform.” The decision to upgrade the lighting across the entire district not only impacted the staff working in the offices, the students learning in their classrooms, but also the athletes practicing before and after school. As an added bonus, the community gets to watch their all-state caliber athletes in efficient and even lighting.  

 

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Caledonia Elementary School 

 

Outdated technology throughout district 

As The Retrofit Companies, Inc. fully inspected the district with an Investment Grade Audit and their team of experts, it became clear that there were a variety of issues at play, both with the interior and exterior of each building. Exterior lighting is very important, especially when we have events in the evenings and the MN winters get pretty dark. Having quality exterior lighting is important for safety and it also gives a welcoming feeling when you enter the parking lot” said Ihrke.  

Specifically, the buildings were running on outdated technology, which resulted in a high level of lamp failure and maintenance headaches. 

“We had a lot of exterior metal halide lights that we were having a lot of trouble with. The building is 18 years old and we were seeing a lot of things start to fail, both fixtures and ballasts” said Morem. 

From a security standpoint, we had a lot of dark spots, and when we do snow removal there were a lot of areas that were not well lit. That was a motivation for sure. With this in mind, it was apparent that TRC address the light levels through design using photometric layouts.  

The Caledonia Middle/High School was also undergoing a renovation in their main gymnasium; a pivotal area of a school that is known for their impressive athletic programs. Ihrke said “The importance of having quality light in the gymnasium, especially for our strong athletic teams...we are very excited about the lighting in the gym. The light has changed drastically and people are going to notice right away.” The Retrofit Companies, Inc. partnered with Caledonia Schools during multiple district renovations, both exterior and interior projects, including new sidewalks, that all showcase the pride that the district takes in providing the best educational facilities. The district had to ensure they found a partner for their lighting upgrade that could work with the many moving parts of an entire school district, their existing projects and the schedules of community buildings that never sleep. In the end, TRC and Caledonia Schools worked together to create a smooth upgrade across all facilities.  

 

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Caledonia Area Middle and High School Gymnasium 

 

Making the Investment

“This was a peculiar project; we actually went out and created our own bid form for this project; it was very involved. Chris Wendling at TRC was very helpful in guiding us with what specifications were needed for this large project. It was very helpful to have Chris help with that part of the process. The audit that TRC provided had the existing technology, the recommended replacement, as well as additional recommendations for replacements. You could clearly see what was the best way to go” said Morem. 

When considering alternative solutions, the Investment Grade audit provided by TRC gave a clear choice as to the most economical and financially responsible solutions. 

Morem said We went from a T8 fixture, with 32 watts per lamp, to 15 watts per lamp, so we cut it in half. We were told from the outset that we would see considerable savings right away, and to take your total load and to cut it in half is substantial. I don’t know of anything else in your building system that you could do that with; you can’t cut your heating costs in half, or your cooling in half by making one change. To see over 50% of your consumption reduced with an overall better quality light, the answer was clear.”  

In fact, the proposed cost savings was a reduction in annual energy costs by 58%. Based on hours of operation, the existing energy costs under the old technology would have been $82,124. With the implemented solutions they are expected to see operating costs of $34,536.30. These savings not only came from lamp replacements but also from retrofit kits and fixtures to offer longer life solutions in areas where maintenance issues were a concern. Breaking that savings down, Caledonia School district is saving $130.38 a day.  

 

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Caledonia Elementary School Light Layout 

 

Keeping it Local

TRC worked diligently to accommodate the many challenges and variables of this project. In general, summer is a busy time for schools to get projects of all kinds completed, this was no different. TRC worked with the painters when they needed to get in to paint the gym ceilings, and change their installation schedule as necessary. “These buildings never really sleep...the high school is a living organism and is always going. From people lifting weights at 5am to evening events that push 11pm.” With facilities that have such a high demand for light usage, it was imperative that TRC provide a full scope of work in their Investment Grade Audit, detailing the various parts of their buildings and their unique demands. It was very exciting to work with Retrofit (TRC) about how detailed the audit was, how everything fell together in exactly the order in which they said it would"...

"The timelines and schedules were met without any issue, and most of the times in advance. Scheduling was very easy, if there were needs for the building, the team would be flexible and work on another area. This could actually be done with school in session, that’s how easy it was to work with TRC Morem said.  

“I was also very happy to see that they hired a local contractor to sub out the work down here in the elementary building. We like to have community involved and we like to have local contractors; it’s a small community and we take pride in keeping things local” said Morem. TRC always supports the area being served, and working with a local contractor is part of the full circle of service provided that matches the TRC company values. 

 

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Caledonia Elementary School Library 

 

LED Lighting Transformation

The only surprise I had was how quickly an area had progressed. You return to a room and all of a sudden it is transformed. You could do this project with school operating, the crew kept things tight, clean and I was surprised at how smooth everything went.”  

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Caledonia Area Middle and High School Hallway LED Lights 

 

When asked about how the new light has been received by staff and faculty, Morem said “In recent weeks as school starts to start up again, and students coming in for sports programs, we have heard many times how much brighter it is in the building, noticing things they have never noticed before” even if that means needing a fresh coat of paint on the walls. “Especially the impact at night, the color and the quality of light makes an impact. It’s almost like you are getting a new chance at a new room.”  

Schedule a call with our lighting consultant
 

Industry Expert NALMCO Highlights LED Project

LM&M Magazine

 

A Must-Read in the Lighting Industry.

LM&M, the official NALMCO publication, provides information on the latest industry trends and developments in planned lighting maintenance and lighting technology — content that’s beneficial for NALMCO members as well as owner-occupiers and other industry professionals.  

 

TRC is thrilled to grace the pages of the NALMCO LM&M Magazine as a featured Project Spotlight in the newly released May issue. NALMCO is an organization that has really set the standard for Lighting Quality Management and brings together business experts in the Lighting Industry.

We are a proud member of NALMCO and are honored to share our case study, focusing on LED lighting, design and energy savings in schools and school districts, with the loyal LM&M readers. We get a lot of questions from our customers regarding success stories that they can relate to, and so many businesses face similar challenges to those that were resolved in this project. Check out the original case study Lakeville School District - Lighting Case Study.

 

LM&M May Cover

 

 

Are these issues sounding familiar? Take a look at our Investment Grade Audit E-Book to learn why this the likely the next step for you.get a smart start to your lighting projectReady to take that next step and improve your lighting? Have questions about if you should go with LED lights and why?

Talk to a Lighting Expert

 

 

5 Ways Lighting Can Save Our Planet

 

Chances are that your business has discussed ways to limit their carbon footprint, be more environmentally friendly and maybe even kick starting some green initiatives. Learn more about how easy it is have a positive impact on our planet with this 5 Easy Ways Lighting Can Save Our Planet infographic. 

 

Lighting Can Save the Planet - Infographic

How-To Find the Best Energy Rebates


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You probably know that there are a lot of energy rebates out there that may save you money upfront or have a great payback in the end. But are you sure you are maximizing your savings through energy rebate programs? Do you hear about rebate programs in your area but are not sure what you quality for?

TRC has a team of experts that help you find rebates through utility companies and other programs to reduce upfront costs and increase your payback. We pride ourselves on serving our customers with a full service rebate program from start to finish, providing the research, expertise and best possible options for each project as we stay on top of the ever-changing rebate programs.

Step 1: Make rebates easy

This is the easy part, just call one of our experts and we will help you find the best rebate programs in your area.

Schedule a call with our lighting consultant

But if you want to know a little bit more before calling...

Step 2: Know your market

The LED market is expanding rapidly and this energy-efficient lighting is becoming more affordable. The utility companies are adjusting the rebate levels based on these trends. Rebates for some LED lighting categories have reduced in 2018, but new lighting categories get added to the rebate programs as the lighting technologies continue to change and develop. There is still time to take advantage of the opportunity to save on your energy efficient LED lighting.

Step 3: find the right rebate program

We can help you determine what programs you qualify for and where you can maximize your savings. Many businesses will qualify for programs under the following utilities, however most utility companies (small or large) offer some sort of rebate program. Call us and we will do the work for you!

Xcel Energy

  • Prescriptive and custom rebates
  • Larger users often qualify for Xcel rebates
  • Rebate Finder Tool

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CEE (Xcel Energy territory program)

  • Calculated based off of total energy savings
  • If you are a smaller user within an Xcel territory, you may qualify for these rebates

SMMPA (Southern MN Municipal Power Agency)

  • Prescriptive and custom rebates

Step 4: take it a step further for more savings

Have you considered installing lighting controls in your building for even greater savings? Lighting controls can save thousands on annual energy bills while increasing comfort in your building and making it easier to run. As part of Xcel Energy’s Efficiency Controls program, you may qualify for a cash incentive that corresponds to the energy-savings potential of your control system.

The more energy your project saves, the more your business can earn rebate dollars.

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By working with our rebate experts, you could be saving your business hundred or thousands of dollars just by letting us guide you. It’s so easy, call us and we will walk you through the simple steps.

Schedule a call with our lighting consultant


 

The Surprising Impact of Lighting Redesign

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Before their lighting redesign and retrofit, this arena building was underlit and had major shadows.

Rick A Shay Ranch is a horse lover’s sanctuary nestled at the end of a wooded drive in Chisago City, Minnesota. Owner operator Pam Foshay started her ranch nearly 20 years ago, and describes her history with horses as spanning several decades including a notable list of credentials. On the ranch Pam offers lessons, boarding, and training in a range of styles from basic handling and trail riding to dressage and games. The training is physical and mental for all involved. From her description, most of her clients are children and young adults with whom she loves to share her vast experience and cites that best parts of her job are the long relationships she is able to have with riders. She says some of them started with her when they were under ten years old. She has watched them grow, volunteer, and develop their dedication to the hard work of caring for the animals into impressive points of interest when applying for colleges and jobs. Many of them are now in their 20’s and still spend time at Rick A Shay Ranch.

Pam’s primary arena was constructed in the late 1990’s, and at the time, the lights installed were previously used. Some of the primary issues with the old lighting, aside from being inefficient and expensive to operate, included cones of light and many shadows within the arena area. She knew it was time for an upgrade, so she began working with The Retrofit Companies to have a new lighting system designed and installed.

Consultants from The Retrofit Companies designed a system where interior and exterior metal halide and incandescent fixtures were replaced with new LED fixtures. Inside, the 17 existing metal halide fixtures that used over 450 watts each were replaced with 12 new LED fixtures that consume only 102 watts per fixture. With the system redesign five fixtures were removed, and lighting performance is improved. Photometric studies prior to installation allow us to see projected outcomes and determine if a fixture will perform in the manner expected. On the exterior of the building, new LED fixtures with dusk-to-dawn sensors now light the side of the building and the doorways automatically as needed, making early chores easier for her and late departures safer for her clients.

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After the project was completed, inside was almost as bright at the outside!

We asked Pam about the other improvements she and her riders have experienced since the project was completed, and were surprised by some of her answers. She told us that people comment on the improved look and that the better lighting is important to the young riders as they learn new skills. Regarding the performance of the system she says, “It’s two times brighter, and no glare. We turn them on, and zing, they’re on!” She noted that it’s nice and bright, and during the winter it’s always a sunny day inside. “It’s inviting, let’s put it that way.” We know that improved lighting does have an impact on people, and has been proven to increase productivity so we asked about the horses. One of the most interesting aspects of the project we think, was Pam’s answer to this inquiry. She says the horses can see better in the new light. They are able to better use all of the arena space since shadows are reduced and they’re more relaxed; in turn this relaxes the riders for a more enjoyable learning experience.

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Pam’s new lighting system is anticipated to reduce her annual lighting costs by an astonishing 84%. The LED retrofit qualified for a utility rebate of $4,100, and offers a simple payback of one year and nine months. These remarkable results aren’t exclusive to large projects, or giant warehouse spaces, even smaller businesses can see dramatic improvements with lighting redesign and upgrade projects.

Curious about lighting redesign and project planning? Get our ebook!

Why invest in a lighting study?

 

Linear LED & Other T8 LED Resources

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There's a giant world of information about LED linear tube options, energy efficient lighting, and how to get the most from your retrofit project, but do you really have the time to seek it all out? If you're like most any professional we've met, the answer is no. You need concise, accurate information in order to make informed business decisions. To save you a few clicks, today we're sharing a rundown of all our information about T8 LED tubes to date - from "What is a Linear LED T8?" to some recall products we've noted, and a video of how simple installation mis-steps result in product failures. Keep reading for a distilled list of high points!

 

1) Are you considering a lighting upgrade by replacing your T8 fluorescent lamps with T8 LED linear tubes for energy efficiency? This is a wonderful leap in the lighting world, affording lighting designers, facility managers, and other contractors the ability to essentially retrofit existing fluorescent fixtures with LED linear tube options. It can be seen to have benefits and cost savings over a major redesign and new lighting system overhaul; however, there are many considerations to be aware of as you begin planning your lighting project if you only intend to replace fluorescent tubes with LED tubes.Unfortunately, it’s never as simple as just changing a light bulb. Keep reading to learn some of the pitfalls and concerns to keep in mind as you learn about LED T8 lamps. [READ MORE]

 

2) There are 3 general types of T8 LED tubes used in LED lighting retrofit projects. In this post we evaluate each of these LED linear tube options, sharing best uses, and some pros and cons.

 

3) Deeply consider how you would like to approach your lighting upgrade investment, are you simply looking for greater energy efficiency, or do you want to improve lighting, reduce maintenance expenses, and step in to the future with a well-designed system?

 

4) One common retrofit includes integrated LED lamps to eliminate the need for a ballast. This might be the right solution for your facility, but this video illustrates the future care and education required of each individual tasked with maintaining a lighting system. There is a large potential for injury for an uninformed individual maintaining these systems. LED T8 hazards exist, and a simple oversight can cause serious damage. Watch here to see how two common mistakes are made in maintaining integrated LED T8 fixtures.

 

5) Deciding to invest in energy-efficiency is a decision that every company or business must come by on their own. Oftentimes, an investment in energy-efficiency will yield more than a return on investment. Let’s look at 9 signs that could be telling you it’s time to consider investing in LED Lighting.

 

6) T8 LED Lamp recalls from Cree and from Sylvania.

 

Looking for additional insight? Our professional lighting consultants are available! Schedule now:

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Understanding LED Linear T8 tubes

In our previous two blog posts, we discussed LED linear tube options for your LED lighting retrofit. First we gave an introduction and discussed some safety concerns, and then outlined the three types of LED tubes. Keep reading to learn a final set of variables to consider when selecting LED tubes, and next steps to get your project going on the right foot!

Know what you are trying to accomplish when selecting LED tubes

Even when you have the correct combination of linear LED tubes and existing ballast or wiring configuration, simply grabbing an LED tube and installing it may change lighting levels drastically, undoing the original success of a well-designed lighting solution. Safety and compatibility requirements aside, there are two additional primary factors to consider when selecting LED T8 linear lamps to help maintain good lighting design that may already exist in your space. The first is lumen output and the second is the beam angle of the lamp.

When LED tube wattage is too high, the result is an over lit space. This may mean you have more light than you need, and that’s not the end of the world; however, that result means energy is being wasted. You are dismissing potential energy and utility-cost savings. You don’t have the optimum lighting design for your application.
Beam angle is critical. A traditional fluorescent lamp casts light 360 degrees around the linear tube, but T8 LED is available in a range of beam spread from 160 to 325 degrees. Simply put, this beam spread can dramatically affect how a space looks when lit with linear LED. There are specific applications for beam angle, and using the incorrect beam angle could achieve undesired results. For example, a 160-degree beam angle will stripe a fixture and also change the optics of the fixture, once again undoing a well-designed project. A 325-degree beam angle lamp will not "stripe" a fixture and will utilize the optics of the fixture much like a fluorescent bulb.

If you are ready to make a change to energy-efficient LED, and a linear T8 LED seems like the best solution for you, it’s important to understand the variables you will face when confronted with this sizable purchase.

Next Steps for a Successful Lighting Project

  • Look for a neutral vendor, one pushing a single product line or manufacturer should be avoided. Choose someone that can explain the differences between products and price points so you can choose the solution that best fits your needs.

  • Ensure you have partnered with a lighting designer that has seen a variety of these lamps perform. One challenge that we face with this constantly improving technology is that photometric data on the lamps can’t be paired with IES fixture files in some instances.

  • Ask for case studies in industries similar to yours, or ask to see some products in action. It can be very helpful to see these lamps in person.

  • Ask for a test in your space. You may want to hire a reputable lighting partner to install a test area to be sure the results are what you want, and meet your lighting project goals.

  • Consider whether or not you need to increase light levels. Ask whether lighting controls would make sense for your business and lighting project goals. Both of these can impact how much energy a lighting project could save for your organization.

  • Always consult the utility company’s rebate guide to get the system with the most rebate incentive, a higher priced system may result in a lower NET project cost based on rebates. Without understanding these rebate structures, you may be leaving money on the table.

 

Deeply consider how you would like to approach your lighting upgrade investment, are you simply looking for greater energy efficiency, or do you want to improve lighting, reduce maintenance expenses, and step in to the future with a well-designed system? If you would like to know more about the benefits of a lighting retrofit beyond energy savings, we recommend our article outlining 6 other reasons to retrofit beyond money and energy savings.

If you're ready to get started with your energy efficient lighting upgrade, contact our constultants today!

Consult a Lighting Pro

 

T8 LED Lighting Retrofit Introduction & Safety

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Are you considering a lighting upgrade and have you investigated replacing your T8 fluorescent lamps with T8 LED linear tubes for energy efficiency? This is a wonderful leap in the lighting world, affording lighting designers, facility managers, and other contractors the ability to essentially retrofit existing fluorescent fixtures with LED linear tube options. It can be seen to have benefits and cost savings over a major redesign and new lighting system overhaul; however, there are many considerations to be aware of as you begin planning your lighting project if you only intend to replace fluorescent tubes with LED tubes. Unfortunately, it’s never as simple as just changing a light bulb. Keep reading to learn some of the pitfalls and concerns to keep in mind as you learn about LED T8 lamps.

Be careful when selecting LED T8 replacement tubes

True lighting designers design spaces to be illuminated so they meet industry light level standards and the needs of the people who occupy a space allowing them to effectively do their work. After all, the lighting required in a retail setting or a classroom will be dramatically different than what is expected in a manufacturing facility or operating room.

In the days of fluorescent lighting great design was achieved with the correct combination of lamps, ballasts, and reflectors to gain maximum lighting for as little wattage input as possible using photometric design. This meant that these spaces were as energy-efficient as possible while maintaining adequate light levels for the activity taking place in them. Since the advent of LED technology, specifically Linear LED Tubes, many facilities are looking to make the leap into even greater efficiency by replacing their existing fluorescent tubes with linear LED tubes. See some recommended light levels for specific industries and types of tasks here.

Without replacing the fixtures, linear LED lamps allow facilities to effectively retrofit their fluorescent technology to something more efficient with relative ease. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, unfortunately there are many variables among the available LED tube products and selecting the wrong one to update your existing fixture could lead to a poor outcome ranging from being over lit or ruining your existing lighting design, to dramatic malfunctions that end up being an outright dangerous fire hazard.

In our next Linear T8 LED blog post, we will discuss three types of LED tubes, the scenarios where you might find them, and the potential outcome of incorrect energy efficient lighting retrofit procedure. While we know this technology to be effective, safe, energy-efficient, and that it looks great when properly installed, it is most definitely not a one-size-fits-all solution. 

Are you ready to learn more about planning for your LED lighting retrofit project? Read "How Much Does A Retrofit Cost?"

Get a Free E-Book "How much does a retrofit cost?"

Xcel Energy LED Retrofit Rebates Expanded

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Beginning July 1, 2016 Excel Energy is expanding their LED lighting rebate offerings for retrofit projects and new construction. Significant to this update is the inclusion of another type of 4 foot LED linear tube rebate for retrofit projects valued at $6 per lamp. Benefits for other tube type LED retrofits range from $2 to $10 per tube based on type.

The entire rebate structure for retrofits and new construction projects is available online for you here. This utility rebate program is available to Minnesota business customers of Xcel Energy.

Other rebate types for LED upgrades included in this program:

  • Exterior lighting such as parking garages, wall packs, parking lot, canopy lights and area lights.
  • Refrigeration lighting for freezers and refrigerators in convenience and grocery stores
  • Interior lighting including troffers, linear tubes, screw-ins, hibay and low bay lighting, and exit signs

 

Why upgrade to LEDs?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LEDs offer the potential for cutting general lighting energy use nearly in half by 2030, saving energy dollars and carbon emissions in the process. Additionally, they offer several advantages over conventional lighting:

  • A long life span, typically up to 50,000 hours or more, which can greatly reduce replacement and maintenance costs
  • They create a bright, shadow-free environment that can improve the safety and comfort of your employees and customers
  • Durability and reliability, they’re less prone to breakage and contain no mercury  
    Read the LED Information Sheet here.

 

If you're ready to learn more about how to get a rebate for your lighting project, please contact one of our lighting design experts today!

Consult a Lighting Pro

Is this the end of CFL?

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Not long ago GE announced that they will be ceasing production of CFL lamps. "By next year, many of those bulbs will no longer qualify for the coveted ENERGY STAR rating, which introduced a new lighting specification..." Is this the end of CFL?

You can read their full announcement here for more insight about energy efficient lighting and why the change is being made. The Department of Energy (DOE) cites GE's change as an example of a shift in the industry and a reason supporting the importance of their rule making efforts.

For consumers looking for more answers, we recommend reading the DOE article directly. It answers the following questions:

  • How did DOE develop the proposal, and what is a proposed rule making?
  • Why is DOE issuing efficiency standards for light bulbs?
  • How will the proposed rule affect consumer choices?
  • What would this rule mean for the average American family?

 

LED INSTANT utility REBATE FROM XCEL Minnesota

UPDATE: FEB 2016

Xcel Energy recently made their LED Instant Rebate available 'indefinitely' - check out these offers if you are considering a lighting upgrade project and contact TRC to get started!

 

Talk to a Consultant About Rebates

 

 

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE LIMITED-TIME OFFER!

Back in May of this year we published a blog post about the Xcel Energy Business LED Instant Rebate for Minnesota customers – a new rebate program that was launched in the beginning 2015. This utility rebate program was designed to help the commercial customers in Xcel Energy’s service territory upgrade to more efficient lighting, and make it more affordable by offering instant pricing incentives on select Energy Star rated LED’s.

To continue to help businesses increase the energy efficiency by converting to energy efficient LED lighting, Xcel Energy have come out with a limited-time rebate offer.

 

What is does this limited-time offer comprise of?

  • Decreased minimum customer contribution for promotional rebates from $5 to $2 per qualifying lamp or retrofit;
  • Increased rebate amounts, which are shown in the table below:

 Limited-time rebate offer for Xcel Energy's Minnesota commercial customers.                 

 

Sounds like a great opportunity to save for less!

Hurry and take advantage of this promotion as these additional incentives expire at the end of this year, which means that the qualifying product needs to be purchased between Sept 1st, 2015 and December 31st, 2015!

 

Interested? Click below to contact our office & talk to a consultant about your rebate potential.

Talk to a Consultant About Rebates

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