Efficient and effective lighting systems will have a positive impact on your staff’s comfort, productivity and your energy bills.
Check what type of fluorescent lighting you have
All fluorescent lighting consists of a discharge tube and a ‘starter’ or ‘ballast’ circuit used to start and control the luminaire. ‘Mains frequency’ or ‘switch-start’ lighting is older and less efficient and the more modern ‘high frequency’ ballasts or starter circuits should be specified in any new lighting schemes which use fluorescent tubes.
If you switch on a fluorescent fitting and it blinks 3 or 4 times as it comes on then it is likely to be one of the older ‘mains frequency’ types and if annual run hours are extensive then consider upgrading.
You will also hear the terms ‘T12’, ‘T8’ and ‘T5’. These refer to the diameter of the tubes in 1/8s of an inch (So, T12 is 12/8ths or 1.5 inches in diameter). In general, the much more efficient T8 should be used and T12s should be replaced.
There have been major advances in the field of energy efficient lighting as LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology matures and there are likely more to come in the future. Some LEDs are now as energy efficient or better than the best fluorescent lamps but are continuing to improve.Lamp costs are high but lifetimes are around 50,000 hours which is 5 times as long as typical fluorescent tube lifetimes. Always check beam angles, light outputs and colours are appropriate by testing in a small area.