Not all lighting retrofits are created equal.
With the great Idaho Power rebates out right now many businesses are doing lighting retrofits. The most common retrofit is from T12 to T8. One thing to remember is that not all retrofits are the same. There are a lot of businesses that just get multiple bids from different electrical contractors and go with the cheapest, assuming that a retrofit is a retrofit. The cheapest bid is not always the best.
Below are some things to consider when looking at a retrofit.
1. What type of ballasts is the contractor using? The difference between a cheap generic ballast and a high efficiency (NEMA qualified) ballast can be approximately 7% in energy difference. The reason for are doing the retrofit is to save energy. The type of ballast that you use does matter how much energy is saved.
2. What type of light bulbs is the person using? Are they using a cheap off brand import? Are they using 700 or 800 series lamps? Are they using low wattage T8 lamps, or extra long life T8 lamps? If an extra long life bulb is being used? Any of these higher quality light bulbs can add a few dollars per fixture to the lighting retrofit. However, in the long run the cost may well be worth it. These are things that the business should find out before deciding which bid to select. It is very important to make an “apples to apples” comparison.
3. Is the person doing the lighting retrofit a licensed electrical contractor? In this economy there are a lot of people trying to make money where ever they can. Make sure that the person doing the lighting retrofits is licensed by your state.
4. What is the contractor doing with the old T12 fluorescent bulbs? Are they recycling the light bulbs or just throwing them away? We highly recommend businesses request a written certificate of recycling. If a contractor is actually recycling, they should have this on file from their recycler. If they cannot provide a written certificate then they are likely not actually recycling.