Lighting Solutions

For our accounts we continually have energy reductions from 30 to 60 percent, based on facility conditions. The New England Electrical Systems, which is comprised of Granite State Electric, Massachusetts Electric, and Narragansett Electric said, "The combined Benefits of energy-efficient lighting are significant. Just one benefit, productivity, may be the most important and also the most overlooked. Researchers are finding that the quality of indoor lighting has dramatic effects on mood, alertness, absenteeism, and productivity. For example, one major U.S. Post office found that its mail sorting personnel could move six percent more pieces per hour, with fewer errors, after a lighting retrofit that also saved $22,400 per year in energy and $30,000 per year in avoided maintenance.

Since lighting accounts for one fourth of all the electricity used in the United States, improving lighting efficiency also helps postpone the need for new power plants and reduces pollution from existing plants".

Exploring the HID Myth

If your warehouse or factory is like most, you’re probably using high intensity discharge (HID) technology, similar to the type that illuminates many sports arenas today. Unfortunately, while HID lighting is touted as state-of-the-art, careful analysis reveals the T8/electronic ballast technology will out perform HID.

Consider the following facts:

  • HID lighting systems create "hot spots" and shadowing whereas a comparable T8 system has a consistent, even flow of light at the work plane.
  • HID lighting systems commonly cause significant glare in a facility, whereas the T8 system has no glare.
  • Metal halide fixtures experience lumen depreciation at a rate of more than four times faster than a T8 system. It is common for a metal halide lamp to depreciate 40-60 percent before lamp failure, whereas the T8 lamp will lose less than 10 percent of its initial lumen over a longer life span.
  • The high pressure sodium fixtures have a color rendering index (CRI) of 22 on a scale of 100, whereas the T8 lamps we provide have a CRI rating of 86. Therefore, the T8 system significantly enhances color perception.
  • HID lighting systems are costly to maintain since your ability to schedule preventive maintenance to replace lamp outages is not viable, whereas the T8 system can be effectively maintained by scheduling a preventive maintenance program to cure outages twice annually.

Exploding the HID Myth

If your warehouse or factory is like most, you're probably using high intensity discharge (HID) technology, similar to the type that illuminates many sports arenas. Unfortunately - while HID lighting is touted as state-of-the-art, careful analysis reveals the T8 lamp/electronic ballast technology dramatically out performs HID. Consider the following:

Even though metal halide technology is touted as being energy efficient, the T8 /electronic ballast combination coupled with a specular reflector is substantially more energy efficient. Upon analysis of manufacturers specification guide the mean lumen of the standard off-the-shelf variety of metal halide would rate the technology at 63 to 66 lumen per watt (LPW). By contrast, the best T8 combination is 102 LPW at mean.

The HID system is a point source lighting system similar to a flashlight. By design this system is flawed when it comes to achieving the primary purpose of spreading light evenly over a large area several feet away. The 18" dome reflector of the HID luminaire directs the light downward causing "hot spots" at the work plane underneath the fixture and shadows between fixtures. By contrast, GPALS specializes in line source lighting systems. By spreading the luminaire over eight feet of surface area and incorporating an optical specular reflector behind the luminaire, GPALS has much more control over the lumen from each luminaire. Therefore, with the GPALS system a much higher percentage of the available lumen ends up where you need it, (i.e., the work plane). The result is your facility has a comfortable, even flow of light at the work plane and it requires substantially less energy to achieve acceptable light levels.

Part of the poor environment created by HID lighting is glare (extreme light intensity) caused by the HID point source system. Characteristic of the point source lighting system is a relatively high concentration of lumen exploding out from a single point source. The problem with this condition is twofold:

  1. The glare from the luminaire causes an uncomfortable environment to the human eye
  2. The 18" dome reflector is an inadequate method of controlling the lumen
In fact, a considerable portion of the light ends up in locations which have no benefit to the operation of the facility. By contrast, a line source fluorescent system will have no glare since the luminaire is spread over eight square feet. Also, the specular reflector design spread over eight square feet offers a far superior design to efficiently bounce light to the work plane.

Perhaps the most serious problem with HID (specifically metal halide) is the loss of lumen due to lamp depreciation as the lamp ages. Manufacturers catalog data reveals that the standard metal halide lamp will lose its initial lumen at a rate of more than four times faster than the T8 lamp/electronic ballast combination. With a metal halide system, what you see when you initially install the system is not what you get! For over the life of the 400 watt metal halide system (rated at 20,000 hours) you can expect to lose 40-50% (and too often much more) of the light initially illuminating from the system. Your cost of operating the system hasn't changed but the performance of the system changes dramatically. With the T8 system, manufacturers specification reveals you will lose less than 10% of original lumen during a 30,000 hour life expectancy. In short, the T8 lighting system is a much more stable light source and therefore, you get a much greater value for your money over the life of the light source and perhaps more importantly, your facility light levels are consistently higher.

Exploding the Maintenance Myth

A common misconception perpetrated in the industrial and commercial marketplace suggests that a fluorescent lighting system will be much more costly to maintain than a HID lighting system. Upon careful examination, the facts prove this concept to be mythical. Perhaps this concept was advanced in view of the old style T12 fluorescent system. Todays' state-of-the-art fluorescent T8 system is quite different and the facts bare out the HID system will require far more work orders annually than a T8 system. As professionals in the lighting maintenance industry, we know that one HID lamp outage will have much greater impact on facility light levels than one T8 lamp. Since the impact of a T8 outage is relatively minor, it doesn't make wise use of time to replace each T8 as it fails. And since lamp failures occur randomly throughout a facility then your response to this condition can be managed on a preventive maintenance program. By contrast, when an HID lamp fails it has significant impact on the facility lighting grid and therefore must be attended to promptly. Reality is a T8 system can generally be well maintained through a scheduled preventive maintenance program in which outages are cured twice annually. Depending on the age and size of a HID lighting system, it is not unusual to have two or more work orders per month to cure lamp outages since each outage darkens a section of the plant. In short, your ability to schedule preventive maintenance to cure lamp outages with a HID lighting system is not a viable option and the result is your labor cost to maintain the system goes up dramatically with the increased set up and break down time required by curing lamp outages as mortality occurs.