November 30, 2010
Go Green (While Saving Some Green) With Energy-Efficient Lighting
These days, energy efficient light bulbs are more than just the swirly ones most people think of. There are numerous variations of lamps, ballasts and fixtures to choose from. Changing to energy-efficient lighting for your business is both economically and fiscally conscious. So where do you start?
Efficiencies in lighting began taking hold in 1991 as technology advances started to emerge. The common ballast was magnetic and the linier fluorescent lamps used were 34 and 40 watt 4-foot T12 (12 1/8 inches or 1 ½ inches in diameter). The color choices were simply either warm or cool white. The emerging technology was electronic ballast and 32 watt 4-foot T8 (8 1/8 inches or 1 inch in diameter) and was 30 percent more efficient than the T12. Today’s technology is even more diverse and includes low, standard, medium and high power electronic ballasts, as well as 25 watt, 28 watt, 30 watt and three variations of the 32 watt 4-foot lamp. The color choices range from warm 3000K, medium-warm 3500K, cool white 4100K, daylight 5000K to daylight Deluxe 6500K and beyond.
The quality of light the T8 lamp produces is greatly improved over the T12. This is measured on a scale of 1 to 100 and is called Color Rendering Index (CRI). T12 lamps have a CRI of 65, whereas T8 lamps are into the high 80’s and low 90’s. The clarity these lamps produce is really noticed when trying to read or look at detailed drawings.
With all the options available today, the savings over T12 systems can reach upwards of 65 percent. Add controls in the mix, and that can go even higher. Over the last decade, on average, electrical rates have increased by 60 percent, and there is no end in sight. There is no better time than now to consider an upgrade.
If rising energy costs aren’t enough, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated the majority of the T12 products be discontinued. Fixture manufacturers have not been able to produce T12 style fixtures for quite some time. It is only a matter of time before business owners will need to make the change.
It is more important than ever to find an expert that can help design a solution customized to your facility to generate an attractive Return on Investment (ROI) and take a project from design to implementation through close-out. Also, look to your partner to identify state and/or power company incentives and prepare any necessary documentation and paperwork once the project is complete.
To get an idea of the savings that can be generated with a lighting upgrade, check out the energy savings widget on our company website. Here you can familiarize yourself of the potential savings at your facility.