LIGHTING RETROFIT-
FOR ME OR NOT FOR ME?


The following actual quotation excerpts are representative of the type of savings that lighting retrofit can achieve for the building owner:

"…this quotation for Lighting Retrofit is the result of the energy conservation audit that was performed at your building. As you will see, the potential savings ensuring from Lighting Retrofit are substantial and the investment payback significant. Since Hydro rates have increased over 30% in the past 9 years, these figures serve to highlight the necessity of reducing the consumption of electricity through new lighting technology".

"…current annual lighting costs are $20,700.00 and consume 258,750 kilowatt hours (KwH) of hydro. After the lighting fixture retrofit, the new lighting costs will be $10,200.00 and consume 127,500 KwH. Therefore, your annual savings will be $10,500.00 ($875.00) each month) and 131,250KwH of electricity - 50%. Of course, as hydro rates increase in future years, your savings will increase too".

"…the turnkey retrofit cost is $24,650.00 which yields a purchase payback of 28 months. If you wish, various leasing options are also available. A suggested lease would consist of 36 payments of $860.00 each month so that the lease can be paid by your hydro savings. After 3 years the full $10,500.00 annual savings, or more, is yours".

So, on a financial basis, if the answer to the title question appears to be yes, let's look at what lighting retrofit does.

Lighting retrofit is the changing of particular lighting fixture's component parts or the actual replacement of the entire fixture in order to achieve a reduction in the consumption of electrically. This is fine from Ontario Hydro's point-of-view (they employ Energy Advisors to assist their customers in reducing electrical usage) but, more importantly to you, there is a significant decrease in your Hydro bills. And all without compromising light levels or quality of light output.

The introduction of the fluorescent lamp in the 1930s was the first step towards the development of energy efficient lighting systems. Since then lighting technology has improved and most recently we have seen the introduction of tri-phosphor lamps and electronic ballasts. For over half-a-century electromagnetic ballasts were the only available means of controlling fluorescent lamps. The introduction of electronic ballasts as an alternative is affecting today's fluorescent lighting systems design.

The new technology ballasts and fluorescent lamps produce the same amount of light, or more, at lower wattages and, because more energy is converted to light and less heat is generated, there is a reduced air-conditioning load and lower operating costs. The lamps are available in the same colour temperatures as regular lamps (ie. CW, WW, etc.) but have a much higher Colour Rendering Index (CRI) due to the use of rare earth phosphors which in fact improve the appearance of objects and people seen in this light.

The following items are the most common forms of retrofit for the building owner:

1) The replacement of existing old style T12 (1½" dia.) fluorescent lamps and electromagnetic (core and coil) ballasts with new technology T8 (1" dia.) lamps and electronic or energy saving electromagnetic ballasts. A typical 4' 2-lamp 93 watt fixture would be retrofitted to either 58 or 71 watts, depending on the ballast used.

2) The reduction in the number of lamps in a fixture, usually in conjunction with the above item, and the addition of a pre-formed anodized aluminum reflector. A 4' 4-lamp 186 watt fixture could be retrofitted to 2 lamps at 58 watts total along with the addition of a reflector to maintain acceptable light levels - a saving s of 69%. If the current fixture was burning 24 hours a day every day of the year it would cost you $130.00 annually - just for one fixture! Wouldn't you like to reduce that to $40.00?

3) The replacement of interior and exterior 60, 75, 100 and 150 watt "A" bulbs and PAR 38 pot lamps with compact fluorescent 9, 13, 18 or 26 watt lamps or new fixtures. Besides the great lessening of wattages and therefore dollars, the amount of heat that is no longer produced is notable. Also, there is a reduction in lamp cost and labour replacement time because of the 10 times longer life.

4) The replacement of the two 15 watt bulbs in Exit signs with two 1 watt LED lamps or strips rated at 25 years. Put them in and forget them! The costs are $1.40 per Exit sign per year instead of an annual operating cost of $21.00 each plus you won't have to worry that the Fire Marshall will inspect the building and find burnt-out signs.

5) The replacement of exterior wall mounted and pole mounted incandescent, quartz and mercury vapour fixtures with either metal halide or high pressure sodium fixtures. Besides the increased light levels and occupant satisfaction, the savings in kilowatts and hydro costs are very meaningful.

Where can the building owner use this new lighting technology? Wherever interior lights are on more than 8 to 12 hours a day. Areas such as offices, classrooms, lobbies, washrooms, health/fitness rooms, lockers, utility/mechanical rooms, etc… Common areas such as hallways, stairwells and garages are on 24 hours a day, every day of the year - that is, always! And the exterior lights are basically on half of always!

If you think that lighting retrofit makes sense for your building, contact an energy management company. Have them perform a lighting audit which will detail the fixtures by location and consumption. It should indicate the retrofit status of each fixture type and show the current and new kilowatt demand and kilowatt hours of consumption. From this and the quoted installed cost, the savings and the payback timeframe can be determined. It should be apparent that the benefits of lighting retrofit are there for your building.

This article was written by Phillip Levine, and Energy Management Consultant with EnergyWatch Inc.,
and appeared in Fair Exchange, a publication of The Fair Rental Policy Organization of Ontario.

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