So it's time to start relamping the fluorescent troffers in your business, and you have a decision to make: do you continue using fluorescent lighting, or is it time to switch to LED?
In this post, we'll take a look at the cost of replacing your current fluorescent bulbs vs. the cost and process of retrofitting with LED lights. And we'll look at the financial benefits of making the switch. In fact, there are three different approaches to the LED solution, and we'll consider them all.
Your Fluorescent Troffers
Of course there are different sizes of fluorescent troffers used in business. These are typically 1x2 (feet), 2x2, and 2x4. For this post, we'll use 2x2 troffers as an example. You can apply the same concepts to the troffers in your business.
A fluorescent 2x2 troffer like this one uses two U-bend lamps, which (together) cost around $15 and may be rated for around 20,000 hours of life. They use 64 watts.
If you ran these lamps 10 hours a day only on weekdays (around 260 days per year), you would replace these lamps roughly every 7 years. And if electricity cost you 12 cents per kWh (including delivery costs), they would cost you around $20 per year to run.
LED Retrofit Lamps
Your first LED retrofit option is to retain your current fixture and replace the fluorescent bulbs with LED bulbs designed for this purpose. Philips InstantFit is one choice, and for a 2x2 fixture you would choose this sort of U-bend LED. You will need to make sure, however, that the fixture uses a compatible electronic ballast. You can see compatible ballasts for InstantFit lights in this document.
At this time, you could get two of these LEDs from us for around $40 -- a premium of around $25 over the cost of fluorescents. But the LEDs would produce all the light you need at roughly half the wattage (33 watts), so in the scenario above you would save around $10/year in energy costs, and the bulbs would pay for themselves in 2.5 years. After that, they would be money on your bottom line, and when you would normally have to relamp the whole office (after 7 years with fluorescents), the LEDs would keep on going, saving you more in labor and lamp costs. These lamps have about twice the life of the fluorescents.
Your second LED option is to remove the current fixture and entirely replace it with an LED fixture like this one from RAB. At the time of this writing, most LED 2x2 fixtures range from $100 to $300, so we'll use a price of $200 in this example.
Like the option above, an LED 2x2 produces the light you need for about half the wattage, but in this case there are likely to be more labor costs because you are removing the old fixture and putting a new one in its place. Still, once this is done, this particular model has a rated life of 100,000 hours, so it could be 35 years before you need to replace it, once again saving labor costs over time.
Once more, you're saving about $10/year in energy costs with each fixture, but with the initial costs remaining fairly high, it will take many years for it to pay off just in terms of energy savings. But you'll also save on long-term maintenance and enjoy quality lighting along the way.
An LED Retrofit Kit
A final LED option is pretty exciting because it's easy for anyone to do and potentially lasts for such a long time. In this case, you remove your fluorescent bulbs (make sure to recycle them with our boxes!) and ballast, but keep the fluorescent fixture in place. Using powerful magnets, you position a new LED fixture onto the original fixture and then further secure it with some screws. Connect the wires or simply plug in and your new LED fixture is ready to go!
Check out the process in this video:
While this isn't quite as easy as simply plugging LED bulbs into the original fixture, it's definitely not hard and can probably be done in 10 minutes or less by most people. And once it's in place, the brand we sell is rated to last 85,000 hours, or close to 30 years in our example above.
Our current price is about $70 more than two new fluorescent U-bend bulbs, so by the time you go to replace those fluorescent U-bends in 7 years, the fixture has paid for itself and will continue putting money in your pocket over time while largely eliminating labor costs for years and years to come.
We hope this gives you some options to consider when it's time to choose between replacing fluorescent lamps and retrofitting them with LED lights. As you can see, there's still an initial investment period when it comes to LED, but this technology can more than pay for itself in time while providing a quality light.
If you have questions, as always please call Lighting Supply at 877.231.2852 for answers and to place your orders. Or visit us at LightingSupply.com to order online.