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LED Advantages

Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, can offer businesses significant advantages over fluorescent and other types of lighting (like high intensity discharge). These advantages include:

  • Longer lifespan/less maintenance
  • Use less energy
  • Draw less power/demand
  • Easy integration of controls like daylight/occupancy sensors
  • More direct light can appear brighter

Options for LED Lighting Upgrades

Although they are more expensive than fluorescent lamps, the cost differential is decreasing. If you are interested in replacing fluorescent tube lighting with LED, four main options exist:

  1. Replace fluorescent tubes with LED tubes using existing ballast. This is the least expensive option. This option will save energy if the existing fluorescent ballast is electronic rather than magnetic. This is a good option if you want to start saving energy with limited initial hassle but don’t mind having to continue to replace ballasts when needed.
  2. Replace fluorescent tubes with LED tubes and replace ballast with LED driver. Using an LED driver may or may not provide as much energy savings as using LED tubes with an electronic ballast. But LED drivers should last longer than fluorescent ballasts so should require less maintenance. This option would make sense if your fluorescent ballasts are already nearing the end of their lives. Note that once you select an LED tube-driver combination, you must replace any tubes with that same brand of tube.
  3. Replace fluorescent tubes with LED tubes and bypass the ballast altogether. Bypassing the ballast and using direct line voltage to power the LEDs may require more labor than replacing just the tubes or even the tubes and ballasts. However, it eliminates the need for a ballast or driver and therefore should reduce the cost of materials and require minimal maintenance. LED tubes that work in this way are specially designated as ballast bypass tubes. This type of retrofit may not be eligible for utility rebates.
  4. Replace the entire fixture with a new LED fixture. This is the most expensive option but allows for energy savings to be maximized. It also allows for a seamless integration of controls such as daylight and occupancy sensors.

Note that in CSU testing, different brands of LED tubes performed significantly different than their nameplate wattages suggested, especially when paired with fluorescent ballasts. Ask your contractor to provide evidence of power usage with LED tubes, and look for LEDs that are DLC-listed.

Last updated: September 10, 2017 at 15:24 pm