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According to the U.S. Department of Energy, recessed fluorescent troffers make up more than 50% of the fixtures installed in commercial applications in the United States, consuming over 87 million kWh of electricity every year.
That’s why we’re excited to announce the brand-new, patent-pending TKD from [P-2], a conversion kit that upgrades fluorescent troffer lighting to energy-efficient LED lighting at up to 101 lumens per watt.
The TKD gives building owners the option to upgrade their existing fixtures instead of replacing the entire fixture. This can result in lower cost, reduced waste and reduced installation labor.
While many existing LED conversion kits use LED tube lighting, these kits have issues such as their lack of uniformity, decreased longevity and reduced light output. In contrast, the TKD conversion kit replaces the fluorescent fixture’s lamps, ballast and socket bars with a pre-wired LED light engine, complete with a new lens and door assembly. The result is a retrofit kit that offers efficacy of between 93 and 101 lumens per watt, an aesthetically pleasing appearance and light output that can match or exceed the fluorescent lighting it replaces.
We know that installation times are a key consideration with any retrofit kit, so we developed the TKD as a high-speed kit for high-speed retrofits. We’ve even made a video that shows how quick and straightforward the installation process is.
Once the kit has been installed, it will deliver a long maintenance-free lifespan, calculated for 70% lumen maintenance at 80,000 hours.
If there’s one place where good lighting is critical, it’s the parking garage at the mall. How many times have we scanned the rows and rows of cars, wondering, “Is that a space?” It may be difficult enough to ascertain whether there’s an empty space or a small car parked beyond that SUV, or whether someone has just arrived or is about to head out, without having to deal with dim lighting above. Not to mention watching out for children and other pedestrians, or missing a car that comes too quickly around the bend. So when the owners of the parking garage at the Shops of Grand Avenue in Milwaukee decided to upgrade the lighting in the garage, we were happy to help make it safer, easier and friendlier for shoppers to park. Current Electric Co. of Brookfield took the project, using the [P2] VPL LED parking vaportight fixture.
The garage was originally illuminated with 986 metal halide lights, each consuming over 150 watts of electricity. [P2] VPL LEDs consume only 51 watts of electricity per fixture, bringing down total energy consumption by over 66%.
We worked with Current Electric to further increase energy savings. The first of our strategies was to install occupancy sensors on the fixtures. The occupancy sensors detect when people or moving vehicles are present. When the area is empty of pedestrians or cars, the sensors will dim the fixture’s light output by 40%, enough to reduce energy consumption while conserving an appropriate base level of light output for safety and security. All 986 fixtures are installed with occupancy sensors.
The second strategy was to mount daylight sensors on 450 fixtures in areas where natural light enters the structure during the day. When these sensors detect sufficient natural daylight, they’ll turn off the fixture to both save energy and extend life. The sensors also have a built-in time-delay function so that fixtures won’t automatically turn off when there’s only a temporary dimming of light, such as when a cloudbank passes over the sun.
The VPL LED fixtures are a good choice for a parking structure in Milwaukee. With an IP67 rated housing that can withstand washdown pressures of 1500 psi, the fixtures will have no trouble in harsh wintertime weather. The VPL LEDs can reach full brightness instantly when they’re turned on, even in sub-zero temperatures, when other lighting technologies can take several minutes to reach full brightness. The fixtures also diffuse light over a large area, providing even, uniform illuminance throughout the parking garage while reducing the glare experienced by drivers.
Overall, the retrofit is expected to save the parking garage more than $134,000 in energy costs every year. The annual energy savings of 1,344,963 kWh represents 949 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reductions, equivalent to taking 198 cars off the road for a year.
The new lighting system also has an increased maintenance interval, saving time and money for the garage’s owners. “Lighting maintenance in parking garages can be difficult, and hazardous,” said Randy Breske, director of lighting business development at Current Electric. “The new lighting system we installed more than doubles the maintenance interval in the parking garage.”
And so a well-lit parking garage welcomes all those who come to The Shops of Grand Avenue, anxious to add the latest fashions to their wardrobes, browse for the perfect gift or simply run errands all in one place. In working on this project with Current Electric, we’re proud to have helped the parking garage owners cut energy and lighting costs, improve lighting quality and make a positive environmental impact.
Sometimes, the status quo gets it wrong. This is just as true in energy-efficient lighting as it is elsewhere. So today, we’re going to work to dispel three misconceptions we’ve been hearing about lighting retrofits.
Misconception #1: It’s Best To Wait For Better Technology
Like most commonly held misconceptions, this one is rooted in truth. The truth is that lighting technology is evolving. Today, we have technology that delivers better lighting quality, greater levels of efficiency and longer lifespans than what we had just a few years ago. In a few years, we’ll very likely have developed even better technology than what we have today.
The misconception comes from what we do with this information. Some building owners feel it’s better to stay on the sidelines until “something better” comes along. That’s where they get off track. The truth is, the lighting technology we have today is great. Not only that, but it offers great paybacks, and if you stay on the sidelines, you’re throwing away money.
In 2012, we wrote a blog post titled The Cost of Waiting. It was targeted at building owners who were choosing to wait for LED technology to develop instead of taking advantage of the fluorescent technology available at the time. While LED technology has become viable for a much wider range of applications since we first published that article, the principle it outlines is still completely sound. If you wait for tomorrow’s technology, you’re missing out on today’s savings and improvements.
Misconception #2: Reputation Doesn’t Matter
As energy-efficient LED and fluorescent lighting become a common sight on the shelves of big-box stores across the country, many business owners and even lighting contractors are getting burned by no-name brands that don’t stand behind their products.
That’s, of course, bad for those individual business owners and contractors, but it’s also bad for the industry. When someone has a bad experience with a specific lighting manufacturer, they tend to dismiss the whole idea of energy-efficient lighting. And the truth is that there are some less-than-responsible companies putting out sub-par lighting.
That’s why it’s important to look at a company’s reputation. At [P2], we’ve been manufacturing energy-efficient lighting for American businesses for over 20 years. We’ve built our reputation on supporting our customers and standing behind our products.
Misconception #3: With More Efficient Lighting, Controls Don’t Matter
The line of reasoning goes like this. If you have a metal halide fixture that’s pulling 450W, and you turn it off with automatic lighting controls, you’ve saved 450W. But if you replace that metal halide fixture with an LED fixture that’s only pulling 150W, is it even worth adding controls when you’re saving 300W?
The answer is most often, yes. Like we’ve said before, the most efficient lighting fixture in the world is one that’s turned off. Just like energy-efficient lighting itself, controls technology has been evolving to be better, cheaper and easier than ever to install. Because of the cost savings they deliver, lighting controls usually make financial sense with even the most efficient lighting systems available.
Heard a lighting misconception you’d like our help dispelling? Just send an email to
, and we’ll be happy to give you a hand.
If you’ve ever been on a car trip, you know that gas stations are much more than just a place to buy fuel for your car. They’re a place to break up the monotony of the drive, stretch your legs, grab a snack and take a break. Particularly at night, gas stations represent little oases of illuminance and relaxation in a sea of dark highway miles.
Petroleum station owners know this better than most of us, which is why they’ve been employing several lighting strategies to make their stations welcoming to drivers, while still reducing their overall lighting costs.
#1 - Increasing (Perceived) Light Levels
If you’re driving down the freeway looking for a station to stop at, are you going to stop at the one that’s underlit, or the one that’s brightly lit? Brightly lit pumps attract more drivers and appear more safe and secure than under-illuminated pumps.
LED gas canopy fixtures like [P2]’s QCF allow station owners to improve delivered lumens without the danger of excessive glare, while still cutting their energy consumption.
#2 - Getting Rid of Yellow
Traditionally, many gas station canopies were lit with sodium lamps. These lamps produce a “yellow” light that many drivers find unattractive.
Station owners have a variety of options to choose from to replace these older lamps. Metal halide, fluorescent, LED and even newer, high-pressure sodium lamps can all produce brighter, whiter light. However, fluorescent and LED can combine that output of whiter light with impressive levels of energy efficiency.
#3 - Going Flush
LED retrofits for gas station canopies have been available for several years. However, most of these fixtures had to be box-mounted outside of the canopy, creating a sometimes undesirable appearance or resulting in an intrusive installation and increasing labor costs.
New options, like our QCF, use a modular remote driver. This allows the fixture to be mounted flush in many existing canopies, without the need to modify the canopy. As a result, station owners can maintain the canopy's original look, without expensive modifications.
#4 - Cutting Energy Bills
It costs money to keep the lights on, but with new energy-efficient lighting options, gas station owners can save quite a bit with a lighting retrofit. For example, retrofitting a single canopy with the QCF could save more than $6,800 per year in energy costs. Add in the maintenance savings and improved lighting quality, and it’s no wonder that lighting retrofits of fuel canopies are more popular than ever before.
We make several fixtures designed for energy-efficient lighting retrofits in gas canopies. The QCF is our brand-new flush-or-surface-mount, LED-based gas canopy fixture. If you’d like help picking the right option for your next project, one of our lighting professionals would be happy to help.
Every energy-efficient lighting retrofit is, in a sense, an act of balancing numbers. Building owners and lighting professionals weigh the cost of performing a lighting retrofit against the benefits of the retrofit. Performing a more comprehensive retrofit can improve the overall energy savings and other benefits, but it generally increases the initial cost of the retrofit.
It’s something we’ve talked about in-depth in our Getting the Most from Every Retrofitseries of posts. Every retrofit starts as a one-for-one replacement. Performing additional steps, like comprehensive layout and specification, adding lighting controls and addressing outdoor lighting, will improve the retrofit’s long-term savings but also add to the retrofit’s initial cost.
So, how do you choose between bigger long-term savings or lower initial costs? It’s something [P2]’s former president, Ray Pustinger, addressed in-depth in an article he wrote for LM&M magazine.
Ray recommends two steps to evaluating the scope of a lighting retrofit. The first is to fully understand the costs and benefits of the retrofit. Here’s a table straight from the article that illustrates this part of the process.
250k SF Industrial Project: Components of Cost and Savings
The table compares two avenues for a hypothetical retrofit. Line (A) is a basic retrofit in a 250,000-square-foot industrial space. It costs just over $132,000 and will pay for itself in just under two years. Line (B) is a comprehensive retrofit that incorporates many of the techniques we covered in our Getting the Most from Every Retrofit series. It costs almost $240,000 and will pay for itself in 2.38 years.
The comprehensive retrofit costs over $106,000 more than the basic one-for-one replacement. In return, it offers an increase of more than $32,600 in annual energy savings. So, if you’re a building owner or a lighting professional considering this retrofit, how do you decide which to pick?
You might have seen it coming, but once again we’ve set ourselves up for our favorite answer: it depends. In 10 years, you’re going to be an additional $219,635 cash-flow positive if you go with the more comprehensive retrofit. You only have to spend an additional $106,000 now.
To quote Ray, “The decision on which approach should be deployed comes back to the site situation, owner/occupant priorities, financial horizon, available capital and the illumination requirements within the facility.” Which is a fancy way of saying, it depends.
Whether you’re a building owner considering a retrofit of your own facility, or a lighting professional looking for resources to help your customers, we highly recommend Ray’s article, which we’ve made available here as a free download.