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Energy Efficient Office Lighting

Office environments are still dominated by T8 fluorescent tubes (T8’s are the one inch (2.5cm) thick tubes) and many offices also have large amounts of halogen downlights which typically consume over 50watts per lamp, although  replacements are now limited to 35W maximum.


Replacing T8 Fluorescent Tubes with LED Tubes or T5 Adaptors

Short of a full fixture change, there are two options for energy efficiency upgrades to T8 fluorescent tubes: LED Tubes and T5 Adaptors.

17-20W T8 LED tubes are now commonly offered as replacement for T8 fluorescent.    The LED tubes do have lower lumen output than T8 Fluorescent, but as the light is directional there aren’t the large losses that often occur in poor quality reflectors, so net output of the fixture is the same.  Due to the directional LED light however it is important to choose one with a beam width appropriate for the fitting.  e.g. is it a recessed fixture that is only downlighting, or is it surface mounted, so uplighting to illuminate the ceiling is prefereable (not many LED tubes are able to do this)?

Good quality T5 fluorescent tubes are more energy efficient than T8 and are driven by a more efficient, higher frequency electricity supply through use of electronic rather than magnetic ballast.  28w T5 tubes can generally deliver equivalent lighting to a 36w T8 and the ballast power savings generate an additional 6-8w power savings per tube.  T5 tubes are also flicker-free thanks to their electronic ballast, providing further advantages for retrofit by improving the productivity of office environments while increasing energy efficiency.


Installation

Both solutions require modifications to the wiring inside the fixture.  Whilst they will work with both the magnetic ballast and capacitor of the fluorescent fixture still in place, the current through the fixture will actually increase, not decrease.  To prevent this the capacitor must be removed.  While modifying the fixture it is generally advantageous to bypass the magnetic ballast also, as this will increase the energy savings and remove a potential point of failure.


Replacing Halogen Downlights

To replace office downlights, LED is the superior option but only high quality LEDs can match the light output of downlights.  Cheaper LED solutions don’t have good colour temperature, don’t produce enough light or don’t have the wide beam angle that halogens have, leaving rooms poorly lit.  Worse, sometimes they are made with poor components and will soon fail.


To improve the energy efficiency of your office, start by contacting Endura Light for an appraisal of the potential energy savings available.

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