Snap-in designs cut installation cost for office and high-bay applications
Iam a big fan of LEDs. They are energy-efficient and have a long service life. They are ballast-free, which removes a potential point of
failure and a consumer of energy.
However, I have not always been sold on replacing fluorescent
tubes with LED tubes due to the high material cost, as much as
$50 each. The incremental benefit (fewer watts consumed) was
not enough to overcome the incremental cost. For clients with
low operating hours and/or low energy costs ( 10 cents/k Wh), I
had been playing it safe by retrofitting T- 12 systems with T-8s or
T-5s. The results were very predictable.
Two factors have changed my view. One, the cost of LED
lamps continues to fall. Second, a snap-in LED design simpli-
fies installation, further reducing costs. These LED tubes look
a little like light sabers from Star Wars movies because they do
not have pins on their ends, unlike fluorescent lamps and other
LED tubes. They have one flat side with two magnets to snap
the lamp into place in a ceiling fixture, where it can be wired
BY ERIC WOODROOF
directly to line voltage. They do not need any lamp holders
(aka tombstones), thus removing another potential point
of failure since old plastic lamp holders often break during
installation of new lamps.
Each of the following two case studies includes a cost
breakdown. While the energy savings are significant, remember
that the quality and level of lighting are also critical. Do a test
of any proposed relamping project to ensure that occupants
will embrace the results.
You can view an 8-minute video with more information on
these two case studies at
Eric A. Woodroof is the Chairman of the Board for the
Certified Carbon Reduction Manager (CRM) program
and has been a board member of the Certified Energy
Manager (CEM) program since 1999. His clients include
government agencies, airports, utilities, cities, universities and foreign governments. In August 2014, he was
named to the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE)
Energy Managers Hall of Fame.