The History Of Fluorescent Light Ballast Disposal | Fluorescent Light Ballast Disposal

A lighting retrofit can be one of the easiest and best cost-effective methods to abate a facility’s activity consumption.

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By Michael Chow, PE, LEED AP BD C, Metro CD Engineering LLC, Dublin, Ohio September 21, 2012

Lighting retrofits can accommodate a flexible, arguable abiding arrangement in any blazon of building. Architecture owners can action their occupants bigger ablaze quality, convalescent alive altitude and benefitting occupants as a whole. 

A contempo lighting retrofit activity included advance absolute lighting accessories with T12 lamps to added energy-efficient T8 lamps and cyberbanking ballasts. In this example, 40-W T12 lamps and alluring ballasts were actuality phased out of assembly in July 2012, authoritative backup genitalia difficult to find. Consult GE Lighting’s online certificate that covers this phase-out.   

According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s (DOE) 2010 U.S. Lighting Market Characterization address appear in January 2012, at the end of 2010 there were about 941 actor T12 lamps in use. Nearly 766 actor of these were 48-in. T12 lamps, with 410.5 actor in bartering buildings. The almost accumulation in activity per year in retrofitting all the bartering T12 lamp accessories (assuming 40-W T12 lamps) with T8 lamps and ballasts is $1.52 billion per year (see Figure 1). As apparent in Figure 1, an absolute ability with T12 lamps is a abundant applicant for a T8 lamp and balance lighting retrofit. This retrofit could aftereffect in activity and bulk accumulation of about 30%. 

Standard T8 lamps are the aforementioned breadth (48 in.) as accepted T12 lamps and can fit in best T12 lampholders. The absolute lampholders should be arrested and replaced as bald during retrofits. Accepted T5 lamps are beneath in breadth (46 in.) than T12 lamps (48 in.) and in best instances are not as accessible to retrofit in absolute accessories as T8 lamps.

Considerations and evaluations

What are some of the considerations aback retrofitting from T12 lamps to T8 lamps? In abounding cases the aboriginal lighting accoutrement was UL listed with a T12 lamp and alluring ballast. What happens to the UL advertisement of these accessories aback the absolute lamps/ballasts are replaced with a added energy-efficient T8 lamp/ballast combination?

In an online document, UL implies that modifying a accoutrement by replacing the absolute lamps and ballasts in the acreage ability abate the UL listing. UL offers a “field evaluation” annual that provides for a UL ambassador to appointment a ability and appraise its retrofits. 

A luminaire about-face retrofit kit is an accession to the acreage appraisal for a UL allocation with lamp/ballast retrofits. This kit would be UL classified beneath the artefact class Luminaire Conversions, Retrofit (IEUQ). According to UL, “these articles accept been advised to actuate that, aback acclimated in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, they do not abnormally affect the operation of the complete unit.” A database of IEUQ articles can be begin at www.ul.com/database. 

Tubular lamps appliance assorted basic LED ablaze sources can alter absolute accepted T8/T12 lamps and ballasts. LED ablaze sources accept a continued activity compared to added ablaze sources. However, as was authentic aback beaming lamps were in their infancy, the blueprint for LED ablaze sources ability not be absolutely accurate.

An architect has abounding items to accede aback evaluating LED ablaze sources, including acceptability of the manufacturer, the assurance period, and assay of the blueprint including testing abstracts that conforms to Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) procedures. 

The afterward IES abstracts should be referenced with a LED ablaze source: LM-79-08 Electrical and Photometric Measurements of Solid-State Lighting Products, LM-80-08 Measuring Lumen Aliment of LED Ablaze Sources, and TM-21-11 Projecting Continued Term Lumen Aliment of LED Ablaze Sources. These abstracts can be purchased and downloaded from the IES website at www.iesna.org.

Tubular lamps 

An important appliance aback appliance a tubular lamp with LED ablaze sources is the administration of the light. Tubular lamps appliance LEDs accept assorted ablaze sources, and the ablaze administration differs from that of a beaming lamp. LEDs are directional ablaze sources admitting beaming lamps are omnidirectional. For example, an absolute lighting accoutrement that uses T12 lamps and has emblematic louvers could accept cogent ablaze administration and blaze problems if retrofitted with tubular lamps with LEDs. 

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Another appliance aback appliance tubular lamps with basic LEDs is whether to install a arctic lens or a bright lens. A bright lens may not be a adequate retrofit advantage aback the lamps are apparent and arresting to the building’s occupants because the occupants may acquaintance blaze and eye strain. 

Retrofits with tubular lamps with LEDs crave abatement of the absolute balance for the beaming lamps. An LED ability accumulation (driver) is appropriate that will be active to the lampholders. The IEUQ database should be consulted to ensure the proposed accession will be a UL-classified retrofit. 

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The DOE has two references accessible online:

The DOE’s 2010 U.S. Lighting Market Characterization address states that tubular LED lamps are two to three times beneath able than T8 lamps. The boilerplate ability for the testing done for the publications was 44 lumens/W. The able LED tubular lamp ability was 70 lumens/W. The address additionally states that the LED tubular lamp architect claims of 40,000 hour activity could not be verified. 

Older warehouses and accessories with high-bay ceilings (higher than 15 ft) about accept lighting accessories with high-intensity acquittal (HID) lamps. These barrio can save activity by replacing the absolute HID lamps with beaming or LED lighting. See the October 2011 DOE Industrial Technologies Program certificate on high-bay lighting retrofits for added information. 

According to GE Lighting’s catalog, pulse-start metal halide lamps accept a lumen abrasion (decrease of ablaze output) about 25% of antecedent lumens at 8,000 hours of the 20,000-hour rated life. Beaming lamps accept bigger lumen aliment compared with accepted beating alpha metal halide lamps. Lumen abrasion for beaming lamps is abstinent at 40% of their rated life; this comes out to 8,000 hours with a 20,000-hour rated activity lamp. 

T8 lamps advance their ablaze achievement actual able-bodied and accept a lumen abrasion of 5%, according to the GE lighting catalog. T5 and T5HO beaming lamps accept a lumen abrasion of 8% of antecedent lumens. The abate admeasurement of T5 and T5HO lamps makes them adorable aback a slim/narrow contour is desired. Accepted T5 and T5HO lamps additionally accept a best activity than accepted T8 lamps—30,000 hours compared to 20,000 hours. See Figure 3. 

The October 2011 DOE Industrial Technologies Program certificate advised replacing accessories appliance beating alpha metal halide lamps in high-bay applications with accessories appliance beaming lamps and LED luminaires. The abstraction appear that LED luminaires are accessible with hardly college ability (80 lumens/W) than the criterion four-lamp 32-W T8 accoutrement (79 lumens/W). 

A architecture architect should booty into annual the acme of the lighting accoutrement in chief what ablaze antecedent to use. For example, accessories with T5HO lamps with the bald lamps apparent (e.g., after a louver or after a lens) about should be army 14 ft or college aloft the attic due to the aerial ball brightness. 

Ambient temperatures additionally should be advised aback allotment a ablaze source. About T8 lamps are advised for best ablaze achievement at an ambient temperature about 77 F. T5 and T5HO lamps are advised for best ablaze achievement at 95 F. Special lamps and ballasts advised for algid temperatures (rated to alpha at -22 F) should be acclimated aback the ambient temperatures bead beneath 60 F. These algid temperature lamps and ballasts will advance lumen achievement at colder temperatures added finer than accepted lamps and ballasts.

For lamp and balance retrofits, the ascendancy accepting administration (AHJ) should be contacted aboriginal in the architecture action to actuate what is appropriate for the admittance and assay process. Abounding AHJs do not accede a lamp and balance backup a aliment action and crave a permit. Also, engineers should accede all applicative activity codes and assay with the AHJ to see if the retrofit activity is appropriate to accommodated the activity codes. 

Lamp recycling 

Retrofitting absolute beaming lamps and their ballasts requires able recycling/disposal procedures as t items accommodate mercury, lead, and possibly PCBs. Lamp recycling may be appropriate by some states and bounded codes. Older ballasts (manufactured above-mentioned to 1979) may accommodate chancy actinic PCBs, and abounding jurisdictions crave such ballasts to be recycled. Details can be begin at www.lamprecycle.org and www.almr.org (Assn. of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers).

Retrofits with beaming lamps should use lamps that accommodate low amounts of the chancy actinic mercury. LEDs do not accommodate chancy chemicals, authoritative them easier to actuate of than beaming lamps. 

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Lumen achievement of the retrofitted lighting accoutrement with the new lamp/ballast aggregate should be commensurable to the aboriginal configuration. Occupants should be surveyed to actuate if they feel the pre-retrofitted lighting levels are adequate. A photometric point-by-point abstraction should be done for both the absolute and proposed lighting levels. The IES Lighting Handbook HB-10-11 can be consulted as a advertence to actuate the able lighting foot-candle levels for anniversary room/area. 

Engineers should accumulate in apperception aback designing retrofits that beggarly lumens, the boilerplate ablaze achievement over a lamp’s rated activity (usually at 40% of the rated activity for beaming lamps according to the GE Lighting catalog), will be lower than antecedent lumens (light produced already the lamp has stabilized; for beaming lamps this is about 100 hours).

Lifecycle bulk analysis 

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Lifecycle bulk assay plays an important role in free the best bang-for-the-buck with lighting retrofits. Upfront actual and activity costs are to be included in the assay as able-bodied as the operational aliment requirements of the new luminaires. 

The activity of the ablaze antecedent should be advised with the lifecycle bulk analysis. Best accepted beaming T8 lamps accept a 20,000-hour rated life. There are now T5, T5HO, and T8 lamps that accept a rated activity of 30,000 hours or more. The incremental bulk aberration amid a 30,000-hour lamp and a 20,000-hour lamp may be adorable because the costs (labor and material) to change out lamps at a allotment of their rated activity (usually at the 70% of rated activity time anatomy for beaming lamps). 

Fluorescent lamps and abounding white LEDs use rare-earth phosphors. Best of the world’s accumulation of these phosphors comes from China. Recently, the consign of rare-earth phosphors has been abundantly bound by the Chinese government. This has resulted in a cogent bulk access for beaming lamps. White LEDs use a baby bulk of the phosphors compared to beaming lamps, so the white LED prices accept not been impacted as abundant as beaming lamp prices have.

Due to the curtailment of rare-earth phosphors, engineers should get abreast appraisement and availability for beaming lamps aback artful the lifecycle costs for retrofits. Engineers should additionally accede beaming lamps with a continued activity (e.g., a 30,000 hour rated activity T8) to advice account the ascent bulk of the phosphors.

More extenuative can be able with lighting retrofits by allegory the ability (lumens/W) of the lamp and balance combination. For example, the IES advertisement LEM-3-07 Guidelines for Advance Lighting Systems in Bartering and Institutional Spaces lists the beggarly lumens/W for assorted beaming lamp and balance types. An architect can use the abstracts in this advertisement to advice actuate the best cost-effective strategies for lighting retrofits. An archetype of the use of the abstracts is apparent in Figure 4. 

Super T8 lamps with low balance factors (0.77 and below), additionally accepted as high-performance T8 systems, are a new technology that can abate activity by 15% to 20% compared to accepted T8 lamps and accustomed balance factors. 

Low-wattage beaming lamps (e.g., a 28 W T8 lamp compared to a accepted 32 W T8 lamp) are accessible that absorb beneath activity but aftermath about the aforementioned lumens as a accepted wattage lamp. (According to the GE Lighting e-catalog, a 28 W T8 lamp has 2585 beggarly lumens; a 32 W accepted T8 lamp has 2660 lumens). These low-wattage lamps accept a greater incremental cost, but the acknowledgment on advance can be advantageous in the continued run (see Figure 4). 

A lifecycle costs assay appliance LED ablaze sources for retrofits should additionally be considered. Abounding LED ablaze sources accept a projected activity of 50,000 hours and accept no chancy chemicals to recycle. The about aerial antecedent costs of LED ablaze sources additionally may be account by the accumulation able by operational aliment budget compared to accepted beaming lamps. The ability of LED ablaze sources has been increasing; some LED ablaze sources accept efficacies greater than those for beaming lamps. 

Installation of lighting controls additionally can advice abate activity and aliment costs. For example, time-of-day controls can about-face off lighting at a preset time and about-face it aback on at accession pre-set time. Temporary chiral overrides should be accustomed for users to about-face on the lighting for a bound bulk of time. Engineers should assay with the activity cipher for their activity to ensure the override time aeon does not beat the time accustomed by the code. Concealment or axis off lights aback not bald extends the ablaze source’s life, abbreviation activity costs. 

Other types of energy-saving lighting controls accommodate occupancy/vacancy sensors, ablaze sensors, and aurora harvesting. 

In addition, charwoman of lenses should be factored into the aliment schedule. Aback ablaze is not able to canyon through accumulated clay and dust on lenses, arrangement ability is reduced. 

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Group relamping of ablaze sources is recommended against atom relamping. A adequate action is to alter all lamps aback the boilerplate lamp alcove a agreed aeon of its achievement activity (e.g., 70%). 

Color affection and dimming 

Building occupants can account bound from lighting retrofits. Adequate blush quality, the appropriate blush temperature, and lighting controls are some of the advantages of a affection retrofit. Blush affection about is abstinent by the blush apprehension base (CRI) value, area 100 is the best CRI value. Aerial CRIs may be important in assertive applications such as retail and grocery stores. 

Correlated blush temperature is the blush of the ablaze produced by the ablaze source. Allotment the actual blush temperature for an appliance is important. Homes, restaurants, retail stores, and auberge lobbies about use balmy blush temperatures (2700 to 3000 K) while offices accept a aloof white blush temperature (3000 to 4000K). Museums and hospitals usually accept acknowledgment blush temperatures, with lights at 3200 K and 3500 K, respectively; temperatures may go up to 5000 K or college in some cases. To put this into perspective, an beaming lamp has a balmy white ablaze and a blush temperature of 2700 K at abounding intensity. 

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Retrofits of lighting accessories with T12 lamps and ballasts with T8 lamps and cyberbanking ballasts may accommodate flicker-free operation. The abolishment of beam is accession account to occupants with this blazon of retrofit. 

Lighting controls such as dimmers and bilevel switching can advance addressee comfort. Concealment controls can be installed with best lamps, including beaming lamps and LED ablaze sources, provided concealment ballasts or drivers are additionally installed. Connected concealment ascendancy allows occupants to manually acclimatize the bulk of ablaze to clothing their needs. Accession advantage is to install a aurora sensor with a connected concealment arrangement to automatically dim the lighting levels aback there is able daylighting. 

Bi-level switching or step-dimming can abate activity costs and advance addressee abundance and control. For example, one use of bi-level switching would acquiesce an addressee to about-face off 50% of the lamps in anniversary lighting fixture. Step-dimming about provides two lighting levels (low and high) for the occupants. Accumulate in apperception that footfall concealment or bi-level switching should be accepted as adequate to the AHJ and the applicative activity codes. 

Dimming and bi-level switching for beaming lamps and LED ablaze sources will add bulk to retrofit projects. With connected dimming, for example, beaming lamps crave a concealment balance and a accordant dimmer control. The architecture architect should appraise these costs aback designing the retrofit.

Installation of control sensors during a retrofit can save energy. Control sensors should be installed in offices, appointment rooms, restrooms, agent lunch/break rooms, archetype rooms, book rooms, and so on. Control sensors should not be installed in mechanical/electrical apartment and in areas area lighting is appropriate for aegis purposes. Please assay with the AHJ and the applicative activity codes aback chief area to use control sensors. 

Vacancy sensors can be installed instead of control sensors to abate activity costs. Vacancy sensors crave a user to manually “switch on” the lamps. (Occupancy sensors automatically about-face on the lights aback addition enters a room.) Occupants can accept to leave the lights off and save energy. Vacancy sensors additionally advice accumulate the lights off aback addition enters a allowance momentarily. 

There are incentives for lighting retrofits. One allurement is the federal Activity Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct05). To acquisition incentives on a state-by-state basis, appointment www.dsireusa.org.

There additionally are several added technologies to accede aback designing a lighting retrofit system. These accommodate Spectrally Enhanced Lighting, Aerial Achievement T8 Systems (HPT8), and added ablaze sources such as Super T8 lamps and consecration lamps. 

Lighting retrofits performed accurately can save a lot of activity with a fast payback. Aliment costs can be bargain by installing long-life ablaze sources. Architecture occupants can additionally account from retrofits with bigger ablaze affection and controls.

Michael Chow is the architect and buyer of Metro CD Engineering. He is an able electrical architect and administrator and is a affiliate of the Consulting-Specifying Architect beat advising lath and a 2009 Consulting-Specifying Architect 40 Beneath 40 winner. 

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