An In-depth Look at Fluorescent Lighting

What is Fluorescent Lighting?

LED fluorescent retrofit lamps are commonly found in interior areas such as office buildings, retail, industrial and warehouse spaces, as well as education and medical facilities. The non-LED fluorescent lamp is a gas-discharge lamp. Using a process known as inelastic scattering, electricity emitted from cathodes excite mercury vapor contained within the glass. Also included within the glass are phosphors and a noble gas, which glow when the mercury atoms produce ultraviolet light, thus creating a visible light source. (Warning on Mercury Poisoning)

Most fluorescent lamps are installed in troffers or surface mounts and contain 1-8 lamps per fixture. The size, light color, and wattage of fluorescent lamps vary greatly, with the most common attribute being the application is mounted in/or hanging from the ceiling. Fluorescents are either T8, T12 or T5 lamps, and are generally mounted in troffers, surface mounts, vapor tight, and high bay applications.

Below are a few visual examples of lighting applications that are utilizing fluorescent lamps.

Common Issues with Fluorescent Lighting

While the cost of a fluorescent lamp is lower than most lamps. All fluorescent fixtures operate with 1-8 lamps per fixture. Causing multiple concerns if a single lamp is having performance issues within the fixture.

You can learn more in Today’s Options for Fluorescent to LED Conversion.

Energy Cost

The typical wattage usage of a 4ft fluorescent lamp is between 28-40 watts per lamp. For example, if your facility is utilizing 2×4 troffers, then you are operating 4 fluorescent lamps and consuming up to 160 watts of energy per fixture. The electric cost for a single 2×4 troffer will run you $85 per year. Multiply that by the total number of troffers in your facility and your energy costs are through the roof.

Lighting Performance

Depending upon the type of lamp you are utilizing (T8, T12 or T5). You could be experiencing a wide variety of lighting performance issues. Like we stated above, the T12 and T8 fluorescent tubes are the most common lamps used in facilities today. Most people would assume that the performance of these two types of fluorescent lamps is very similar. Unfortunately, they would be wrong. Even the manufacturer can play a huge difference in performance quality between the same types of lamps. To make matters worse as individual lamps fail, the aesthetics and performance of that fixture are diminished.

Maintenance Costs

The maintenance volume for fluorescent lighting can also vary greatly. Cold temperatures as well as continually switching your lamps on/off, can cause rapid deterioration. Every time you turn a fluorescent lamp on, it degrades the ignition system within the tubes causing a much shorter lamp life. The average life span of a fluorescent lamp is between 10,000 – 30,000 hours. For a single moderate office space, your maintenance costs can easily reach over $1000 per fixture, per year.

Check Out Our Blogs on this Topic!

What can you learn from our hottest blogs on this topic? These are the most common blog topics searched by people just like you. They are looking to make informed decisions about their Fluorescent Lighting.

The Benefits of an LED Retrofit for Fluorescent Lighting

There are substantial benefits to performing a fluorescent to led conversion. Light Emitting Diodes or LED’s generate light utilizing a semiconductor. They do not rely on the consumption of a fuel source like a fluorescent lamp. One of the great aspects of performing an LED fluorescent retrofit, is that the much more efficient LED can be retrofitted into your existing lighting application.

For more information read our eBook: Replacing Fluorescent Lamps with LED Fixtures or Linear LED Tubes.

We would like our readers to be mindful, that the quality of an LED depends significantly upon the manufacturer. We suggest contacting a product-neutral service provider to help with your LED selections.

Check out our blog, Buying LED: A Buyers Guide to Understanding LED Lighting Specs.

Energy Savings

Most LED lighting applications range in wattage usage for 22-50 watts. Which can result in a 40% – 60% reduction in energy consumption. By performing a t8 to LED Retrofit, your organization could save $80 per fixture, per year in energy costs.

For more on an LED’s energy savings, check out the section on Energy Savings on our LED Education Page

Lighting Performance

As a result of an LED fixtures multi-point design, you will see a bright evenly distributed light pattern perfect for illuminating indoor workspaces, no matter the size. While a fluorescent lamp is not dimmable. Your LED will be adjustable to suit your lighting needs at any given moment. As an added bonus, LED’s are available in a wide range of CCTs (Correlated color temperature) and with their high CRI (color rendering index), you are looking at illumination suitable for any location and occupant.

For more on an LED’s lighting performance, check out the section on Lighting Performance on our LED Education Page

Maintenance Savings

Due to the way LED’s generate light their functional lifespan is much longer than a fluorescent. An LED’s generated light output will degrade very slowly over time. As a result, an LED lifespan can range from 50,000 – 150,000 hours. The LED’s lifespan drastically reduces the costs associated with maintaining your lighting. With the fact that LED’s are not affected by constantly switching them on/off. You can save up to $1000 in maintenance costs for one fixture over the course on a year.

For more on an LED’s lifespan, check out our blog, Understanding LED Lifespan.

Determining Next Steps in an LED Fluorescent Retrofit

So, you have established an LED Fluorescent Retrofit is the right decision for your organization. Now the big question is, what are the next steps in the process? We have a few considerations for you to review.

Commercial Lighting Service Provider

Consider partnering with a project management provider. Make sure they can supply a national LED lighting and electrical project management program. Review these items when vetting a national LED lighting and electrical service provider.

Interested in Learning More about Fluorescent to LED Conversion?

The first step in any fluorescent to LED conversion project should be to contact a lighting solutions provider or lighting company. Make sure they are manufacturer and product-neutral. With neutrality comes a higher focus on your needs. As opposed to the desire or limitation of selling a specific product, purchasing from one distributor or electrical supply house.

A LED Retrofit provider should ask you about your project.

  • What are your desired results?
  • Are you looking at budget or project completion constraints?
  • Do you have an energy reduction target?
  • Do you have lighting performance specifics?

At Action Services Group, our business model is designed to offer you the maximum ROI. While taking your lighting performance, maintenance cost, and energy efficiency into consideration. This allows us to help you prioritize your product selections based on your unique performance goals. No solution or product is ever a one size fits all. We understand the need to customize solutions to meet the organization.

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A Critical Guide to Setting Criteria goals for your LED Project

Narrowing down the best LED solution for your organization can be a challenge. The LED Industry has thousands of lighting options, and not all of them offer the same results. Without knowing product specifics, you might select an LED lamp that provides optimal performance but does nothing for energy efficacy. That is why prioritizing your LED goals should be your first step in any LED Retrofit project. No matter what your lighting application is, a full review of these factors is needed to prioritize them based on your LED Retrofit goals. We created this guide for LED projects; it will lead to the appropriate LED lighting solution for your organization. (more…)

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