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Monday, November 10, 2008

Dolores Sandin: Energy Rates Are Going Up Quickly

Dolores Sandin: Energy Rates Are Going Up Quickly

Business, Business Services.

Energy prices on the rise, are you looking for more energy efficient solutions? - with energy prices on the rise, businesses are looking to find more energy efficient solutions. Two common types of fluorescent lights today are the T12 and the TThe older, less energy efficient T12 runs on electromagnetic ballasts while the newer, energy - saving T8 lights run on electronic ballasts.

There are many opportunities for customers to save on energy by upgrading their lighting. - in the next few years, the t12 lights will be phased out as a result of the energy policy act of 2005, which forbids the selling of the older t12 electromagnetic ballasts after july 201 besides complying with the law, businesses are finding benefits to converting their soon - to - be discontinued t12s to t8 lighting. There are many options for retrofitting, depending on customers' goals. The switch to T8 lighting saves companies a minimum of 33 percent on their energy bills, regardless of the type of ballasts or bulbs used. The retrofit can be set up to maximize either energy savings or light levels. Businesses with warehouses that use traditional probe - start metal halide lights should consider converting to either pulse - start metal halide, or T5 fluorescent lights.

Depending on the amount of hours per year that the lights are used, companies can recoup in energy savings the cost of the T12 toT8 retrofit in less than three years. - depending on the exact fixture type metal halide lights may be" retrofitted" to pulse - start metal halide. By retrofitting current fixtures to the pulse - start metal halide lights, businesses are able to get an energy savings of approximately 20 percent with a relatively small investment. Pulse - start metal halide generally has a low initial cost but doesn' t provide as much long - term energy savings as other options. Pulse - start metal halide lighting also lasts longer than traditional probe - start metal halide lights, so the business saves money in the long run on lighting maintenance. A metal halide light tends to dim over its lifetime, producing more initial light and less light at its end.

Fluorescent high bay T5 lighting is becoming a popular alternative to probe - start metal halide. - this is called lumen depreciation. The T5 lights typically will maintain more than 90 percent of initial lumens at the end of life, while a metal halide will have less than 50 percent. With T5 fluorescent lights the decrease from initial light levels to end of light levels is minor. Changing from probe - start metal halide to T5 requires new fixtures and more initial expense than changing to pulse - start metal halide does. The color - rendering index of T5 fluorescent lights are much higher than either probe - start or pulse - start metal halide, providing a much higher quality of light. But T5 lighting offers several advantages.

The energy savings from the T5s is higher than from pulse - start metal halides. - the t5 fluorescents also can be used with occupancy sensors for frequent on/ off applications. The T5 fluorescents can also be more easily used for daylighting applications since the T5s can be dimmed down much easier than can metal halides. Many businesses still use incandescent or halogen lights in their facilities. However, there are several good compact fluorescent alternatives. There are still situations where these are the best lights, and the businesses should stick with what they have.

People tend to think of the spiral - looking light bulbs when they think of compact florescent lights, or CFLs. - most major lighting manufacturers now make a reflector flood version cfl that looks very similar to the r30 and r40 incandescent reflectors. But CFLs come in many varieties these days. The energy savings and longer life of the CFLs make them an attractive replacement for incandescent reflectors. If the goal is to replicate the color of the incandescent, then a 2700K CFL lamp should be used. For example, a typical incandescent 65 - watt BR30 can be replaced with a 15 - watt CFLR3The business can purchase the CFL in several different colors. The CFL will have approximately three times the life of the incandescent lamp.

These CFL PAR lights look very similar to the halogens and can be used in many applications. - manufacturers also are beginning to offer some very good cfl replacements for the halogen flood lights. While the color - rendering index( light quality) of the halogen is still better, the CFL looks acceptable in many applications. The CFL produces much less heat than does a halogen lamp. The typical replacement for a 90 - watt PAR38 halogen is a 23 - watt CFL PAR3As mentioned above, the CFL will use significantly fewer watts and have a longer life. This heat savings also will be reflected in lower air conditioning costs. Most utility companies offer rebates for all of the above mentioned energy efficient conversions: probe - start metal halide to T5 or pulse - start metal halide, and incandescent to, T12 to T8 CFL.

For all energy efficient conversions, you should consult your local utility company before you begin the project. - it is important that you consult with the utility company and make sure you use a quality contractor experienced in lighting conversions. Inexperienced contractors sometimes use cheap generic light bulbs and ballasts on lighting conversions. Not all of the energy efficient alternatives are eligible for the rebates. The result: the customer doesn' t get a rebate. To protect your business against these rising costs, consider upgrading your lighting to a more energy efficient option.

Energy rates are going up quickly. - lighting upgrades can not only save your business energy and maintenance costs, but also can add value to your building.

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