The Retrofit Companies Blog

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.

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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. 

 

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?"

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Pros and Cons of T8 LED REPLACEMENTS (Links)

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A couple weeks ago we shared a video showing how a T8 LED replacement bulb can catch fire if it is incorrectly installed. Because we have committed to being a vendor neutral company we thought a good approach to understanding this technology, and to help guide your decision making, would be to provide the perspective from many different angles, including a look at how things have changed since the onset of this technology. Here's a link round up of some of the best articles we could find.

"Many believe that the LED tube industry has not matured to a trustworthy level, but manufacturers have improved thermal management, and installations now range from Fortune 100 companies to leading health care institutions to leading higher-education institutions." Read more

This article was published a couple years ago, but "8 Reasons To Consider LED Replacement Bulbs..." still holds strong. Efficiencies, realiability, and product selection have only improved in that time!


When you're ready to make the change, we recommend working with a lighting design professional; however, you may still be interested in how to chooseT12 and T8 LED replacements. EarthLED covers five important considerations in this article.

 

Should You Replace Your T8 Fluorescent Lamps with T8 LED Tubes?

 

We like this article because it digs into details, outlines hands-on testing of a couple popular LED T8 lamps, and discusses the strong points and pitfalls of them.


When choosing between LED and Fluorescent T8 configurations, it may be helpful to consider the ten problems with fluorescent lighting outlined here!

Here's a simple tutorial, How to Install a T8 LED Replacement...and if you haven't seen our video, this is how NOT to install it!

There are safety concerns with T8 LED fluorescent lighting, this article discusses some of the original pitfalls of the technology. We believe that advances in LED technology has been dramatic since that time; however, concerns still ring true today in some respects. "From our perspective, many of the retrofit LED lamps in the market are unsafe. The retrofit tube model with integrated driver just doesn’t work in a secure or reliable way." Be sure you know your system is compatible!


Find out if you're a good candidtate for a retrofit by learning about some common lighting problems:Do You Have Lighting Problems?

 

What are the other benefits of upgraded lighting?

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Since starting this blog, The Retrofit Companies has worked to share our lighting retrofit case studies and stories about lighting retrofit projects that address a range of topics beyond energy-savings and efficiency. However, we know your time is valuable, and you probably don't have an hour or two to find each one and read them all. So, this post summarizes a few topics that are very relevant in today's lighting project landscape. Each of these projects started saving money and energy as soon as the project was completed, but they also address other project goals. Keep reading to see six lighting design and retrofit projects that summarize a few priorities, aside from efficiency and financial savings, that clients have brought to us when we discussed their project goals.

1 FUNCTION: "We need a lighting system that just works better."

It doesn't happen all the time, but sometimes clients come to us looking for a lighting solution to make their lighting system work better for them, overall. In this case study, the facility needed a sustainable, controllable, maintenance-saving lighting system. The existing system in their large production area was all on or all off, no controllability at all. It was also using outdated T12 fluorescent technology. The solution was a combo T8 and LED design with dimming and sensors on the control system. CLICK TO READ THE ARTICLE

2 ONE PIECE AT A TIME: "It's better for us if we don't retrofit EVERYTHING NOW."

Sometimes, a client doesn't have the budget to do an entire project all at once, but they know that a strategic plan of attack can still have dramatic results. When clients decide to address major areas of concern first, or because their budgets necessitate it, they simply do several smaller projects over time. Whether the project is exterior parking lot lights, a gymnasium, or simply common areas like hallways, every reduction in usage can help. This case study shows how one school converted T8 fixtures to a slimmer, lower maintenance cost LED fixture to achieve better aesthetics, more energy savings, and reduced maintenance expenses. CLICK TO READ THE ARTICLE

3 RELIABLE DESIGN: A CAUTIONARY TALE FOR THOSE COMPARING "SIMILAR" proposals

This one is a little more difficult to summarize in under a hundred words, so if this applies to you we recommend clicking through, and also downloading the ebook about investment grade audits. Here's the 10,000 foot view: a lighting redesign project was put together, but one digit in a part number was off, and the project came out a failure. Using the SAME fixture, with correct optics a second time, yielded positive results. Now imagine if this were your project and you were in a position to compare multiple fixtures, from multiple vendors. How could you be sure you're getting the results you want and need? CLICK TO READ THE ARTICLE

4 WE ARE EFFICIENT: "We already have T8 fixtures, why upgrade?"

Not every project results in dramatically improved lighting, and impressive before and after photos. You may even have a relatively efficient T8 fluorescent system in place now; however, improvements in LED and controls systems can yield impressive results in other ways. In this warehouse's energy efficient redesign project, the customer reduced the number of fixtures in use, decreased maintenance, improved controls with sensors, and of course, they are saving almost $5k in annual lighting costs. CLICK TO READ THE ARTICLE

5 SAFETY, MAINTENANCE & AESTHETICS: Thoughtful design results keep on giving!

Here a client came to us with an idea in mind, he even had a fixture chosen and several goals to achieve. Read this one to see how a custom design improved energy-efficiency AND improved the look of the fixtures, reduced maintenance expenses, and improved safety on site. Remember that great planning and utilizing the correct LED optics in your new design vs simply retrofitting one-for-one with an efficient fixture can bring your project to the next level and meet a range of goals! CLICK TO READ THE ARTICLE

6 SOLUTION FOR MULtIPLE LOCATIONS: Again with the importance of planning? Yes.

This last one has some really impressive before & after photos, but the importance of noting this is to showcase one last time how planning ahead will yield the best results. We interview a client about their decision to beta test a solution for multiple locations nationwide, and hear from the lighting rep on the project about some aspects of planning. CLICK TO READ THE ARTICLE

If you're on the decision-making road to energy efficient lighting projects and planning, we recommend arming yourself with as much info as you can so you can ask smart questions. 

11 questions to ask a lighting contractor

Product Recall : SubstiTUBE® IS T8 LED Lamps

Product-Recall-Cree-LED-T8

Fortunately, we don't have too many instances of product recall, but TRC will now be sharing these product updates here when we receive them. If you use this product in an LED retrofit we recommend inspecting your lamps to see if they have been recalled. 

From the Sylvania website:

A voluntary recall has been announced by OSRAM SYLVANIA for certain  SubstiTUBE® IS T8 LED lamps (Model Numbers 73312-1 and 73315-1 only). These lamps may overheat and melt, causing a potential burn hazard. Please stop using this product immediately.

No other SubstiTUBE IS products are affected by this recall.

The model number will appear on both the lamp label and the carton label.

For assistance from the TRC team, please call us directly at 800-795-1230 or contact us online.

 

Learn About TRC's Vendor Neutral Product Offerings

Product Recall : Cree® LED T8 replacement lamps

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Fortunately, we don't have too many instances of product recall, but TRC will now be sharing these product updates here when we receive them. If you use this product in an LED retrofit we recommend inspecting your lamps to see if they have been recalled. 

If your Cree LED T8 replacement lamps were purchased between August 2014 and April 2015 or you believe they may be failing, please review full recall information here.

You may contact the manufacturer here:

Cree customer service toll-free at (888) 338-7883 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, email at T8LED@cree.com or online at www.cree.com and click on “Recalls” or go to www.cree.com/recall for more information.

 

For assistance from the TRC team, please call us directly at 800-795-1230 or contact us online.

 

Learn About TRC's Vendor Neutral Product Offerings

Case Study: Hallway Lighting Retrofit

led hallway retrofit case study

Not every lighting retrofit project we do takes on an entire facility all at once. Sometimes, clients decide to address major areas of concern first, or because their budgets necessitate it, they simply do several smaller projects over time. Whether the project is exterior parking lot lights, a gymnasium, or simply common areas like hallways, every reduction in usage can help. This case study shows how one school converted T8 fixtures to a slimmer, lower maintenance cost LED fixture to achieve better aesthetics, more energy savings, and reduced maintenance.

Deciding to take control of their maintenance costs by upgrading their hallways was a pretty simple decision for this school. An area with aging fixtures and astronomical replacement costs was a great target to start saving. The major problem? Fixture lenses were brittle, easily broken, and no longer manufactured meaning they cost a ton to replace.

Projects like this prove you don’t have to bite off more than you can chew by retrofitting your entire facility at once. Selecting high-traffic corridors with high maintenance costs or long burn hours can make a significant savings impact. Take a look how this institution is using LED updates to control costs, mitigate maintenance expenses, AND save energy! Their new fixtures are even network ready if the building moves toward a facility-wide control system.

PROJECT GOALS & SUCCESSES

  • Inefficient T8 fixtures retired & recycled
  • 114 unnecessary fixtures removed from use!
  • New lighting layout for maximum efficiency
  • Decreased kW& kWh by 60% overall
  • Project rebate over $1700
  • Annual savings over $1100 / nearly $100 a month!
  • New system connects to building controls
  • Cut maintenace costs, new fixtures have 5 yr warranty!
  • New fixtures contain no hazardous materials

EQUIPMENT FACTS

  • Sustainable, Energy Saving LED
  • 2 inch fixture profile
  • Rated 100K hours, L70
  • Dimming and Network ready
  • Even Light Distribution, >80CRI

 

low profile led fixture 

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

CARBON SAVINGS
Total greenhouse gas reduction 9.1 Metric Tons equivalent to:

  • Passenger cars not driven for one year 1.9
  • Gallons of gasoline saved 1020.7
  • Acres of forest preserved from deforestation 0.07
  • Tons of waste recycled vs. land filled 3.25
Are there any areas in your facility that could benefit from a lighting upgrade? Get our 7 point checklist and find out now!
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My T12 Lights Still Work- why should I replace them?

t12 lamps

Since 2005, starting with T12 magnetic ballasts, T12 lighting technologies have been slowly phased out. On July 14, 2012 the manufacturing of T12 lamps ceased for distribution. Along with the final phase out date came the end of some of the sweet-spot utility rebates that were being offered to utility customers who upgraded from inefficient T12 lighting to something better, like T8 or T5 lamps and ballasts.

Today with this T12 ban in effect, and other inefficient lighting types continuing to be phased out, you may wonder, "Why does a T12 fluorescent retrofit still pay off for my business?" You think, "I'll just keep using these lamps until they are at the end of their useful life and then replace them when I absolutely have to."

In short, even though you may have missed the first and most generous utility rebates for upgrading your lighting, we have entered an era of ultra-efficient and extremely long-life technology - LED. LED technology in lighting is more affordable than ever and between energy savings and rebates from utilities for companies making an investment in lighting, most companies that upgrade their lighting see a dramatic benefit and almost instant savings.

Whether T8, T5 or LED is best for you, upgrading your lighting from T12 to another more efficient lighting technology sooner rather than later means your bottom line gets the immediate benefit of reduced overhead.

Learn more about LED lighting myths and utility rebates!

Need more answers? Our staff is available for consultations:

Schedule a call with our lighting consultant

 

How can I reduce operating costs at work?

It’s a common question and a concern for every business as modern times dictate we do more with less to achieve better results. In manufacturing, schools, retail businesses and other industries, the question, “How can I reduce operating costs at work?” and “What are the ways I can save money for my company?” are very, very common.  

There are many solutions out there to achieve savings at work, to help your company run more efficiently in these lean times. But one solution can be simple, direct, measurable and achievable. Today we are going to outline the ways a lighting retrofit can help advance your career and better your business.  

DIRECT IMPACT TO THE BOTTOM LINE  

It’s a fact that every business has lights turned on during business hours, and that light costs money. Retrofitting directly impacts your bottom line. Economic and environmental savings are measurable.  With a successful lighting upgrade you will be able to:

  • Reduce energy costs by reducing the number of watts used per lighting fixture
  • Reduce maintenance costs with longer life lamps such as T8 and LED technology
  • Streamline purchasing by reducing the types and quantities of lamps in your building
  • Build property value by updating the lighting system

IMPROVE APPEARANCES

Perhaps a part of your company’s success is directly related to its image and customer perception. Making a good first impression starts from the top down. For example, if the lighting is bad in a retail store, things are going to feel wrong. Most people won’t directly attribute this to the lighting, but by providing better light the products on the shelves and in displays will look inherently better. This could result in increased sales. We all know looks are everything. Here’s what improved lighting will get you:

  • Better color recognition, helps displays or products pop and gain attention
  • Upgraded lighting fixtures look clean and modern, or can be integrated more fully into building design
  • Areas with too little or too much light can be corrected for maximum effect
  • Interior and exterior lighting can affect the way clients or visitors perceive your building
  • Better light can mean better safety, security and building recognition

   
BE SEEN AS AN INNOVATOR & BUILD FOR THE FUTURE

As a part of making operations leaner, lots of employees these days are asked to wear many hats at work. If you can offer up a solution to help your company operate more efficiently or give insight to streamline future growth, do you think it could advance your career or help make your company more profitable? Here are a few reasons that suggesting a lighting improvement could help you be seen as an innovator:

  • This type of project can help attain larger company goals of sustainability and ‘being greener’
  • Suggesting a simple energy-efficiency measure for consideration could get you recognition
  • Quality lighting can positively impact productivity and is proven to have a measurable impact
  • Plan to ‘build for the future’ and reduce circuit load to allow for future expansion and additions
  • Design lighting projects can be planned in phases to help bridge gaps in innovation (HID to T5 to LED)
  • Add  occupancy or vacancy sensors and other wireless controls that can incorporate later into bigger building automation plans

What other ways have you tried or suggested to help improve efficiency at your company?

 

Outdoor Lighting, LED Retrofit Case Study

 

 

 

 

 

Fluorescent Lamp Recycling: Small amounts of mercury, big hazard.

fluorescent lamp recycling minnesota

How do you know if your fluorescent lamps are a hazardous waste?

It is easy to take for granted the everyday decisions and products we use that can make a big environmental impact if mistreated or handled thoughtlessly. Did you know that even fluorescent lamps can be classified as hazardous waste based on how much mercury they contain? The EPA has developed the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) to test if a lamp is considered to be hazardous. Lamps that contain less than 0.2 milligrams per liter of mercury are not considered hazardous and federal disposal regulations do not apply. But this does not exempt the generator from any state or local regulations.

Lamps that pass the TCLP test are not very common. Most fluorescent lamps, including the low-mercury lamps identified by green tips, would not pass the TCLP test because they still contain enough mercury to be considered significant. The standard fluorescent lamp contains anywhere from 8 to 14 milligrams of mercury. A so called low-mercury lamp contains 3.5 to 4 milligrams of mercury. Unless you have your lamps tested it is safe to assume that all lamps contain a significant amount of mercury and should be treated as a hazardous waste. It is easy to dismiss such a small amount of hazardous material in lamps, but the importance is to understand the wider effect of such a prevalent waste if handled improperly.

Why recycle fluorescent lamps?

Fluorescent lamps are a great example of both of these issues. Fluorescent lamps have always contained mercury and it is as important to recycle used lamps as it is to choose lower-mercury lamps when purchasing new products. As we learned about the hazards of large amounts of mercury, manufacturers adapted and began reducing the amount of mercury in fluorescents. Some lamps are even advertised as low mercury lamps by their green tips or the language on their packaging. In some circumstances, where very stringent legislation does not exist, these “low mercury” lamps may be handled as ordinary waste. However, it is important to know that as a waste generator you will always be responsible for properly disposing or recycling your regulated wastes. Still, fluorescent lamps contain mercury and therefore need to be disposed of in a safe and responsible manner. Modern recycling methods for fluorescent lamps and mercury containing items are reliable and help reduce the effect of mercury on the environment.What is the importance of fluorescent lamp recycling? Conscious consumers are always trying to become more aware of their impact on the environment. This is especially important when it comes to choices in the products we use in daily life because small choices do have a cumulative effect. We don’t often give much time to think about the waste created by these ‘necessary products,’ such as a light bulb, or the environmental impact made as they are being used. We were not always aware of the seemingly passive use of hazardous materials in these simple and necessary products. Asbestos, CFCs, and lead are some common examples of products we used to use passively on a daily basis. As we uncovered the dangers of these materials, we discovered safer alternatives. While replacing these harmful substances is always a priority, responsible disposal of the older hazardous products is just as important.

Take Responsibility

Many states have required recycling of all fluorescent lamps. While it is not yet a nationwide law, the EPA recommends that all types of fluorescent lamps be disposed of as if they are a hazardous waste. The amount of mercury in these lamps is enough to have an impact on the environment because mercury can accumulate and become concentrated in organisms near the bottom on the food chain, eventually working its way into larger organisms through a process called biomagnifcation. All this to say, your small choices have a bigger impact and that making smart choices about commonly used products, even those we use passively, can have a lasting positive result.

It is important to be responsible when it comes to disposing of any harmful materials. So, please be sure to consult a Universal Waste professional or your local regulating authority such as DNR or EPA for advice on proper waste handling and disposal or recycling. 

Request a recycling pick up  

 

 

When Are Your Fluorescent Lights Being Discontinued?

The quick and short answer is, if your office, store, hospital or school is still being lit with T12 linear fluorescent lamps, then yes, you have likely already experienced difficulty sourcing replacement products for burned out lamps or ballasts. Even some T8 lamps have been phased out. US Congress has enacted legislation to prohibit the manufacture of these and other inefficient lighting technologies, and is calling for manufacturers to meet minimum efficiency requirements and lumens per watt for new products.

While the discontinued products may no longer be manufactured, they can still be sold until existing supplies are gone. In the meantime, consumers are likely to pay a premium for the lamps themselves, but also more in utility costs because these technologies use more energy. If you are using these lamps, it’s a great time to consider lighting efficiency projects.

WHY IS THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY REGULATING T12 LAMPS?

DOE is regulating T12 lamps and some T8 lamps, incandescent lamps, and other inefficient technologies as a method of moving energy consumers to be more efficient. The new standards for linear fluorescent lamps is based on efficacy, or ensuring that newer lighting technology offers greater lumens (light output) per watt and a higher CRI (Color Rendering Index.) In effect since July 2012, the legislation eliminates nearly all 4-foot T12 lamps, some 4-foot T8 lamps, most 8-foot T12 lamps, and almost all standard halogen PAR38, PAR30 and PAR20 lamps from the market.

T12 technology is over 80 years old. Since that time, lamps and bulbs have been developed that just work better. T8 and T5 linear fluorescents have:

  • lower mercury content
  • longer lamp life
  • better color rendering
  • are 30% or more efficient than older counterparts

REGULATION CONTINUES TO PROMOTE GREATER EFFICIENCIES

Additional legislation will come into effect to continue promoting energy efficiency advancements. More T8 products will be phased out and wider use of LED and other high efficiency lighting products will become more adapted. Here is a look at some changes you can expect. 

Lighting Legislation Timeline from GE

Additionally, some good online tools and resources exist such as this chart from GE showing replacement options for products phased out in linear fluorescent, halogen and incandescent technologies.

LEGISLATIVE ACTS AFFECTING LIGHTING USERS*

A time line from GE Lighting shows how these changes have been in the works for the past several years. 

2005 ENERGY POLICY ACT
Established minimum efficiency requirements, incentives and research dollars for lamps, ballasts, fixtures and LEDs.

2007 ENERGY INDEPENDENCE AND SECURITY ACT
Established minimum efficiency requirements for halogen and incandescent lamps beginning January 1, 2012.

2009 DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY REGULATIONS
New efficiency standards will place lumens per watt (LPW) requirements on linear and U-shaped fluorescent lamps and halogen PAR lamps effective July 14, 2012 through July 14, 2014.

*There are exclusions to each of these regulations. For specific details go to www.gelighting.com/legislation. Eliminated products may not be manufactured on or after the effective dates noted above, but existing inventories may be sold until exhausted.

LAMP COMPARISON CHART, QUICK FACTS!

linear fluorescent lamp com

With this chart and some simple math you can easily recognize the difference between T12, T8 and T5 lamps if you are not sure how to tell which is which. This chart shows the difference in diameter between sizes. The “12,” “8,” and “5” actually refer to how many eighths of an inch the diameter of the lamp measures. For Example: 12*(1/8) =1.5, the diameter of a T12 lamp.

Evaluate your lighting system with this simple tip sheet and find out if you are a good retofit candidtate.

How do I know if I'm a good "retrofit" candidate?

 

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