i'm getting set up in a new shop and was advised to look into this. right now, the new space as seven, equally spaced 400w high bay (high-output) lights over 5500 sf. these fixtures, apparently, are significant contributors to our electric bill.
We've got an opportunity to switch them out and i would like to get it done asap. can we do these as an even swap (figuring a four bulb, t5 fixture), or would we need more t5's to create light equal to these 400w fixtures? also, what t5 bulbs would give us the best (most natural light)?
Lighting is a bit more complicated. Wattage is only an indicator of energy consumed. Considerations include lumens, beam spread, color, color rendering, energy use, and replacement costs. As one gets older, brighter lighting is necessary.
If you want to do it right once, consult an industrial lighting expert. But DO NOT rely on an electrician to guide you, they will recommend what they do most often, is easier, and more profitable to them.
Rich is right - it gets complicated, and is not an absolute.
One resource could be your local power company. These guys over the years have had to go from hoping you buy all electric heat for your house and shops, to helping people get the most bang for their electric buck. Soft-start motors consults, lighting comparisons and energy audits are all things my local utility monopoly does.
I have used 4' fluorescents, 8' fluorescents, high bay quartz, low bay quartz, back to 4' fluorescents, and a recent change to t5 bulbs. The quartz high outputs were the worst. The t5 light is much better and we can control the color range easier (part of what gets complicated). And they use less energy.
I did come up with a cost of $1,000 per 1,000 s/f figure to buy and install at the proper illumination level I wanted (aging eyes....) - if that helps any.
Have you considered LED? We just built a new facility and went with 100% LED. The initial investment is definitely more but in the long run they will pay for themselves.
I agree- bypass your local electrician when it comes to fixtures. I was shocked how little they knew. I found I knew substantially more than them just by doing moderate research.
I also recommend going directly to an industrial supplier. I used Graybar and worked with knowledgeable staff there. They used a CAD lighting program (Visual) to determine the correct amount of fixtures in order the reach the desired lumens.
I have attached a layout from part of our shop.
Good luck and don't be afraid to embrace the LED technology!
Click the link below to download the file included with this post.
the building is a rental so i don't want to put forth extra funds unless i can see a payback pretty quickly. our electric company has a rebate program for the conversion and i've already got a lift and an electrician at my disposal.
i saw some quick stuff online that suggest the consumption is essentially half for t5's vs. 400w high bays. combine this with the rebate and it looks like i could achieve a pretty quick (3 years) payback. of course, this is figuring a 1:1 swap out so the math will be considerably different if i would need to install more t5's to make up the same lighting.
Have you tried www.e-conolight.com? Very nice fixtures and the best pricing around. They even have a layout tool where you can enter your shop dimensions and your desired lighting level and they'll tell you the number of fixtures you need and spacing.
For 5500sf just 12 400w fixtures seems like you'd have very low lighting levels.
I just ordered 30 4 lamp T5 (low bay white reflectors) for an area that's 80x70.
I personally prefer 5000K color temp bulbs.....they are almost pure white. The 6500K is supposed to be natural daylight spectrum, but they come off looking a light blue and I found that annoying.
If you stick with a 1 for 1 replacement consider an 8 lamp T5 fixture.
Hopefully the local electric utility folks will be able to assist in a design. I say that with caution. A few years ago the local power company offered a free energy analysis of my 5600 sqft building. The power company guy brought along private contractors for the survey (two different dates).
The electric contractor guy was not too enthused about giving me any details about what I already had and what he suggested we change. I had purchased the building about a year or two prior and had no maintenance history records. He had a nifty little point and shoot device that could tell what type of fluorescent fixtures I had (13-15 foot ceilings). He checked a couple. I had already replaced some old broken ones with newer technology. But, he would not tell me which other ones would need replacing. He wanted the job to replace everything. The survey results were a bid for replacement. No details.
The insulation guy, again brought in by the power company, suggested added spray foam insulation on top of our vinyl covered fiberglass. We have a metal building. I asked what could be done with one of our uninsulated roll-up doors that faced the setting west sun (very, very hot in the summer). His suggestion was to spray over the door. And, if I ever decided to use the door again, he said it would be a simple matter of cutting the insulation off the roll-up door. YEAH, RIGHT!!!
Needless to say I did not use either of those two contractors. I essentially learned next to nothing from the power company surveys. We are serviced by a small power company, so they may not have the expertise on board for commercial evaluations. I think that this company was better prepared to perform residential surveys. Oh, well.
The morale of the story is two-fold: Do your own research, and find someone who really knows what they are doing and can show you how they got to their design for your building.
We recently went through this because most of the shop had T12, 8' twin tube lighting, long continuous rows @ 10' spacing. The solid wood/molding area had 400W metal halide. Fixtures @ about 16'. The metal H were replaced 1 to 1 with 6 tube T8, 4', much better light. Mark is right about the dimming of the MH lamps. The reason for the T8's as opposed to T5s was the rest of the shop's T12 conversion. We just replaced the ballasts, lamp holders and reflector covers w/o having to hang new fixtures. They came as a kit through our electrical supply company. A total of 564 new T8 lamps were installed. Local utility gave $3500 in rebate. We rented a lift and did most of the work over the Xmas holiday.The lighting is better in all areas and we only have to stock one kind of lamp. The utility gives rebates based on energy savings.
Depending on your region, make sure you research the incentives that are available. We got our entire 3,500 sqft space converted from T12 to T8, plus reflector hoods for a couple hundred dollars. Anywhere we don't need high fixtures, they lowered the fixtures over workbenches and machines to focus the light. Heckuva deal.
I would definitely look at LED. I recently was going to buy some new ballasts to replace some T8 ones that were out, and one of my employees suggested LED. My immediate response was that the tube-type LEDs had a way to go. But then I decided to take a look, as it had been at least a year since I last looked, and technology moves fast.
I ended up buying a small trial pack of 4' T8 replacements LEDs. They use 18w each and subjectively put out about as much as (2) 32w T8s. They are quickly and easily retrofitted into existing T8 fixtures, and cost less per tube than the ballast that I would have had to buy to get the lights working again. They use 1/3 the power and are rated to last 5 times as long. Win-win-win in my book.
I assume new fixtures set up for the "tubes" are also available, and at relatively reasonable price.
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