Lighting Retrofit - What is it? How does it work?

In most commercial and industrial settings, lighting can account for up to 40% of the electric bill. With advancements in electrical technologies, more energy-efficient materials are now available.  

The Ballast: Magnetic vs. Electronic

The outdated, now retired, magnetic ballasts used with fluorescent lighting were designed with a very simple, electrical format; a magnetic core wrapped in a copper coil that regulates the current of the line voltage supplied to the ballast.  The regulated current is then used to “ignite” the electrodes of the gas-filled fluorescent tube. While this method has been time-tested and relatively successful, it isn’t the most efficient way of using the power from which it’s fed due to inductive transformer heat and current
resistance. In contrast, an electronic ballast is built with an internal electronic circuit board that energizes its lamps at a much higher and more efficient frequency.  There is considerably much less heat produced by the electronic ballast and there are a variety of electrode heating types that assist in the initial firing of the lamps.  

T12, T8, T5: What does it all mean?

Linear fluorescent lamps are named for their diameter. The “T” stands for “tube” while the associated number refers to the
diameter of the tube in eighths of an inch. In most commercial lighting systems, retrofits are performed to convert a T12 system to a T8 system. The T8 lamps can produce just as much, if not more, light output as the T12 lamps, but with a lower wattage.  The energy required to excite the mercury particles inside the tube is lower with the T8 since it is a narrower space. To learn more about the chemical and electrical properties of fluorescent lighting, click here.

The Lighting Retrofit/Upgrade

In most cases, the existing luminaire housing is in good enough condition to reuse, while some applications require a new fixture to be installed (as seen on left).

At the onset, our Survey & Development team identifies every fixture in your lighting system and will propose a new system that utilizes the structure and circuitry of the existing design. Every measure is taken to find the most cost-effective solution available. Our Lighting Retrofit projects normally consist of replacing lamps and ballasts in existing light fixtures. This practice saves the building owner a substantial sum of money by avoiding the cost of replacing the entire fixture. In some cases, the design may include the installation of control devices, such as occupancy sensors, to assist in energy savings. Once the design and proposal are accepted, our crews of trained lighting technicians perform the retrofit at your scheduled convenience. Our crews are accustomed to working various schedules, such as weekends or overnight shifts, to avoid any interruption in your regular flow of business. Contact L&S Enterprises, LLC today to see how you and your business might benefit from a Lighting Retrofit.


Lighting Upgrade Project for Volusia County Schools