Article
I’m a huge fan of LED lighting. One of the main reasons is their 
longevity, based on the L70 factors. They tend to last a lot longer 
before reaching that end-of-life lumen decrease called lumen 
maintenance.<br><br>That means I’ll probably be sipping margaritas on the beach before they need changed.

Retrofit Your Lighting for Energy Savings and More

Steve Maurer, IME
I’m a huge fan of LED lighting. One of the main reasons is their longevity, based on the L70 factors. They tend to last a lot longer before reaching that end-of-life lumen decrease called lumen maintenance.

That means I’ll probably be sipping margaritas on the beach before they need changed.

When planning new construction or major renovations, it makes sense to order new LED fixtures or luminaires for the job. But… what about upgrading an office area or warehouse to LEDs? It could be quite a chore to remove all the existing fixtures and install new ones.

Enter… the retrofit option.

Most retrofits are simple to install, and you’ll get the benefit of increased efficiency, often with 50% or more energy savings. Another benefit to retrofits is that they don’t need done all at the same time!

In fact, I’m working on a retrofit project now where I’m upgrading an industrial building, one room and area at a time.

Most of what this project entails is swapping out fluorescent tubes with replacement LED tubes. They fit right in the existing strip light or troffer. It’s almost plug and play!

I say almost because there are some important caveats. The building I’m working in has some age to it, with some sections built circa 1957. That means that a lot of the fixtures I’m upgrading have older magnetic ballast, not electronic versions.

Why does that matter?

The LEDs the owner specified are UL Type A LEDs. That means they can be installed as a direct replacement, using the fixture ballast. However, the ballast must be compatible with the LED tube.
And that means I have to change out the old ballasts with the correct model. It also means that if the existing ballast has some age on it, it might fail before the LED tubes. Just another step in the troubleshooting process.

But… it’s not too bad.

However, there is another option: UL Type B LED tubes. Type B LEDs use the existing socket, but the tombstones are wired directly to the line voltage. Simply cut the wires to the ballast and remove it.
Then, wire the sockets to line voltage, using the LED manufacturer’s instructions. Each tube has a mini driver to energize the LED strip in the tube.

There is another possibility: the UL Type C LED. This lamp must have an external LED driver mounted in the fixture. This is more time consuming. However, the tubes are the most efficient of the three types. And you have more control options with Type C LED retros.

Recently I came across a new product that got me tingly all over. It makes retrofitting strip lights so much easier. Like I mentioned, I’m doing a retro in an industrial building, complete with warehouse and storage areas, and a fairly large maintenance shop.

Most of these areas are strip fixture lighting, and almost every single fixture has an old tech ballast. That’s a ton of ballasts to change when installing LED tubes!

But this new product makes the process super easy.

You can retro both 4-foot and 8-foot strip fixtures. The LED tube and drivers are mounted on a new cover for the fixture. After removing the existing sockets and ballasts, the retrofit kit is wired directly to line voltage (120/277) and then fastened into place.

There are even lanyards attached so the cover can hang while you’re rewiring it, using the supplied quick connects.

Energy efficiency, better lumen maintenance, ease of installation. LED retrofits are definitely something to consider for your next lighting project.
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