Bright Ideas Lighting Co.

My photo Boise lighting maintenance and energy efficient lighting upgrades

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Free lighting retrofits

We at Bright Ideas Lighting Co have recently heard of companies in Idaho doing lighting retrofits at no net cost to the customer-  the "free" lighting retrofit.

How are these companies able to do a lighting retrofit completely free to the customer?  Generally under normal circumstances the Idaho Power lighting rebates will pay for about 50% of a job, with customer paying for the remainder.

How do these companies get the rebates to pay for 100% of the lighting retrofit job?  The biggest thing that we have seen is excessive delamping.  Idaho Power pays $12 per delamp.  So if the fixture goes from 4 lamp t12 to 2 lamp T8 the delamping portion of the rebate is $24 (2x12).  The 4-2 lighting retrofit is very common and generally looks good.  What we have seen is the retrofit going from 4 lamp T12 to 1 lamp T8.   This looks terrible, where there is only one light bulb in a fixture designed to have four.  The light levels are actually far lower after the retrofit.  However, with the 3 delamps, plus the retrofit incentives the Idaho Power rebates literally cover all of the costs.   Other similar types of work are delamping 2 lamp fixtures to 1 lamp fixtures.

We are not going to do lighting retrofits where the end result is that the lighting looks worse than before the lighting retrofit!  The point of a lighting upgrade is to get more energy efficient lighting and have the lighting look better than before the lighting retrofit.   No point in doing a lighting upgrade if the end results is big energy savings, but lighting that looks bad.
Other things that we see done by the companies offering "free" lighting retrofits include using non licensed electricians, and using poor quality lamps and ballasts.  Do you really want your lighting and electrical work done by non-licensed, non-insured workers?   Do you want the light bulbs and ballasts to have a brand name that you have never even heard of?

At Bright Ideas Lighting Co we are always going to use 800 series high performance light bulbs and NEMA premium ballasts in all of our lighting retrofits. 

One thing that from what we have seen is almost always a part of the "free" lighting retrofit is improper disposal of the old T12 fluorescent light bulbs.  The old fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury and need to be recycled.  Recycling cost money and from what we have seen is that many of the "free" retrofitters just throw all of their old mercury containing tubes in the trash.  At Bright Ideas Lighting Co we recycle all old fluorescent tubes and can provide written certificate of recycling from our recycling company.

So with lighting retrofits, just as in most things in life, there is no free lunch.  Our retrofits are not going to be free, but we will offer free estimates and consultation on lighting retrofits.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Retrofit kits

Bright Ideas Lighting Co recently did a project using Lithonia RT8 retrofit kits.  The RT8 kits completely changed the look of the office space and reduced energy costs by over 50%.   The great thing about these kits is that they cost less than an entire new fixture (both in labor and product costs), however the end result looks like a new fixture!!

The previous lighting were old 4 lamp T12 acrylic troffers.  Many of the bulbs were not even matching colors.  Also many of the fixture covers were very dirty.   The old electromagnetic T12 ballasts were also very noise, besides being very energy inefficient.   Each fixture is using approximately 155 watts.

 The picture to the right after we had installed the Lithonia RT8 lighting retrofit kits.

Notice the cleaner more modern look.  The new kits with the 2 lamp T8 electronic high performance ballast are only using 54 watts per fixture.  Note -The before and after pictures are not of the same room, but are of the same job.  Just could not get into same room for the "after" shot.

Because we were retrofitting from T12 to T8 and delamping from 4 lamps to 2 lamps the customer was able to get a $38 per fixture rebate from Idaho PowerBright Ideas Lighting Co filled out all of the Idaho Power paper work for the customer and made the process very easy.   The customer was able to get what looks like brand new fixtures at a fraction of the cost by using the Lithonia RT8 retrofit kits.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

HID lighting upgrades

Does your building have light fixtures that look like the one below?

Metal halide fixture
If your building has light fixtures that look like the above fixture you are paying twice as much in energy cost as you should be paying.   The light fixtures like in the picture above are high intensity discharge - metal halide, high pressure sodium, or mercury vapor.  

Bright Ideas Lighting Co. recommends removing these old fixtures and installing new highbay fluorescent fixtures.  Typically the energy savings is 50%.   The most common type of fixture like the one pictured above is a 400 watt metal halide.   These typically take about 5 minutes to come to full brightness.  The ballasts on these fixtures typically have an audible humming noise.  

The 400 watt fixtures can easily be replaced by either 4 lamp T5 HO fixtures or 6 lamp T8s.  If your business is in Idaho, the Idaho Power rebates are $90 for the T5 HO fixture and $120 for the 6 lamp T8.  Since the cost of the two fixtures is approximately the same most projects are going with the 6 lamp T8 high bay fixtures. 

The fluorescent fixtures come up to full brightness quickly,  almost instantaneously, so you can turn them off and on without having to put up with the 5 minute warmup time for HID fixtures.  Also the fluorescent fixtures can  have occupancy sensors attached so that the fixture will partially turn off when there is no one nearby.

At Bright Ideas Lighting Co we just completed a project where we replaced almost 100 of the 400 watt metal halide lights with 6 lamp T8 and getting a tremendous energy savings and Idaho Power rebate for the customer.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Boise lighting repair

Call Bright Ideas Lighting Co for lighting repair in Boise, Nampa, Caldwell, Meridian, Eagle and Kuna Idaho.  We handle all interior and exterior lighting repair.   Ballast changeouts, lighting retrofits, hard to reach lights. We have a bucket truck and are able to change pole lights up to 50' high.

Monday, June 28, 2010

T12 electromagnetic ballast phaseout

Per the Energy Policy Act of 2005 as of July 1, 2010 electromagnetic T12 ballasts will no longer be allowed to be imported to or manufactured in the United States. 

Suppliers are allowed to sell their remaining inventory of the electromagnetic T12 ballasts.  However, in practical terms most suppliers have stopped selling the electromagnetic ballasts months ago.  

This is the first phase of the T12 fluorescent phaseout.  In July of 2012 the T12 bulbs will also phased out similar to the ballast.  This is part government regulations to force energy efficiency.   T8 fluorescent lights are approximately 30% more energy efficient than T12 lights, plus the T8 lights provide much higher color rendering (better light quality). 

A significant portion of businesses have already did the lighting conversion, but even today T12 light bulb sales make up over 20% of all fluorescent tube sales.   If you don't know what your business has, please give Bright Ideas Lighting Co a call at 208-378-1889 to schedule a free lighting consultation.  We service lighting in Boise, Nampa, Meridian, Eagle, Kuna, Caldwell, and Mountain Home, Idaho.   We service the entire Treasure Valley.

Ultimately if your home or business still has the T12 fluorescent light bulbs you need to consider retrofitting to T8 fluorescents.  This be done by changing bulbs and the ballast in your current fixture, so there is no need to change the entire fixture.  There are currently Idaho Power rebates available for businesses who convert their lights from T12 to T8.   At Bright Ideas Lighting Co. we are experts in all types of lighting retrofits whether T12 to T8, HID to fluorescent, or induction or LED retrofits.

Friday, April 23, 2010

LED T8 tubes

Bright Ideas Lighting Co installed some LED T8 tubes for the first time this week.  We put them in for a customer who had requested them as a sample. 

In the picture the tubes closest are the T8 fluorescents 4100K.  The middle pair of tubes are the LEDs (rated at 4100K) and the far pair is the LED tubes rated at 5500K.  

My impressions were that the LED tubes rated at 4100 kelvin did not look good.  They seemed to have poor color and looked yellowish green.  They were very bright and at only 18 watts a piece they produced a lot of light.

I did like the look of the 5500 kelvin LED tubes a little more.  From the picture it is difficult to tell, but one of the tubes has a clear coating and one of the tubes has a frosted coating.  I liked the clear coating, it produced much less of a glare. 

The LED tubes were relatively easy to install.  I would say they take approximately the same amount of time to install as it is to change a ballast.  I think with some practice we could improve our time and cut our labor costs on these.

Overall it is still difficult to justify LED tubes over T8s given their relative price and performance.  There is clearly HUGE potential in the LED tube market.  There are places where LED tubes seem to make sense, those areas where access is difficult.  The places we are looking installing the LED tubes requires scaffolding be build that will cost over $3000.  So if we get extra life from the LED tubes over the fluorescents then the LED tubes may be worth the additional cost.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Boise subdivision lighting repair

Bright Ideas Lighting Co services the lighting for many subdivisions in Boise, Idaho and the surrounding areas in the Treasure Valley.   We proactively go out and drive through the subdivisions noting outages.  Most times this is before the property manager hears complaints from residents.   We help make property managers jobs easier!  

Now with the economy the way it is we see a lot of electricians who have always focused on new construction calling themselves lighting maintenance companies.  They are only lighting maintenance companies until the next new construction project comes along.   At Bright Ideas Lighting Co. we have always focused on lighting maintenance and energy efficient lighting upgrades.  We don't try to be all things to all people. We are a lighting company, not a new construction company.  
Are there street lights out at your subdivision which never seem to get fixed?  If so give us a call at 208-378-1889 to get your subdivision signed up for our lighting maintenance program.   We serve Boise, Nampa, Caldwell, Eagle, Meridian, Star, and Kuna. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

LED MR 16 light bulbs

At Bright Ideas Lighting Co  we have been cautious in our approach to selling LED lighting.  There is quite frankly a lot of junk on the market today. 

We have found some LED MR 16 products that we feel are a good value to our customers.  They use 5 watts and have a rated hour life of 30,000 hours.   The LED MR16s are not quite as bright as the typical 50 watt halogen light bulb, but easily the equivalent of a 35wt MR16 halogen.

We have been offering customers a demo of the LED lights.  Give us a call to try the new LEDs out- 208-378-1889.

Monday, February 22, 2010

T12 to T8 lighting retrofits - The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

T12 to T8 lighting retrofits - The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

The Good

Using top quality name brand products - Typically Bright Ideas Lighting Co uses Philips, GE, Advance or Sylvania bulbs and ballasts. 

High kelvin lights -  Unless the customer specifically requests different we use either 4100 kelvin or 5000 kelvin lamps in all of our retrofits.  Sometimes we even use the 6500 kelvin lamps for a daylight look.

Documented recycling of all old fluorescent light bulbs.  Your lighting retrofit provider should be able to provide a written certificate of recycling to you showing that they are in fact recycling the old fluorescent light bulbs.

The Bad 

Using 700 series T8 lamps.  These area cheaper than the 800 series, but also provide less lumens and shorter life span.  We still see some electrical contractors using these lamps in order to cut costs.  Yes, using these cheaper lamps will allow the contractor to bid lower, but product quality is also less.  The color rendering index on the 700 series lamps is mid 70s, while the 800s series is mid 80s.   Much better color in the 800  series lamps.   The 700 series lamps typically only have a rated life of 20,000 hours versus the 30,000 hours for the 800 series.  Also much more lumen depreciation on the 700 series lamps. 

Using cheap ballasts - We also see this done frequently in an attempt to save money on the overall cost.  However, just like the 700 series lamps lower quality means lower prices, but also lower overall performance.   We always use ballasts that are NEMA Premium.   Ballasts  earning this designation represent the most efficient ballasts available.  The NEMA Premium ballasts are typically about 5-7% more energy efficient than the standard ballasts.   The reason that a company does a lighting retrofit is to cut energy costs.  Why leave an additional 5-7% savings on the table if you don't have to?

The Ugly
Delamping when you shouldn't - We have recently seen a several lighting retrofit jobs where the contractor delamped a 2 lamp fixture.  The reason for the delamping is to gain extra Idaho Power rebates.  However, when you delamp a 2 lamp fixture it looks really ugly.   If there are rows of 2 lamp fixtures we sometimes have seen the contractor alternate (left or right side of fixture) to run the single lamp in.  It does not look good at all. Best practice on 2 lamp fixtures is to use reduced wattage lamps or low ballast factor ballast for extra energy savings.

Yes, delamping a 2 lamp fixture does save the customer money, but it also looks terrible and give the company a less professional  appearance.  It is poor business to sacrifice quality lighting in the name of energy savings. 

Another thing we have seen is contractors who when delamping a 4 lamp fixture actually use the middle 2 spaces to put the new T8s.  When retrofitting a 4 lamp T12 fixture to a 2 lamp T8 fixture, the T8 lamps used should always be the outside 2 lamp space in the fixture.  This allows much more light out of the fixture than running the middle 2 lamps as T8s.   Besides less light output it just looks very poor. 

 This is somewhat personal preference, but we also still see contractors using the cheapest kelvin temperature light bulbs - 3500k.  This kelvin temperature looks yellow-orange.  Do you really want to sit under that color of light all day every day when you could be sitting under a lamp closer to a daylight color?  

Throwing away of old fluorescent light bulbs.  This one is very ugly for the environment.  All fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury and should  not be thrown in to the trash.  We have seen the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality begin to get tough on companies throwing  bulbs away.  Bright Ideas Lighting Co is happy to see the stepped up enforcement of the recycling.  It levels the playing field.  Credible  responsible companies such as Bright Ideas Lighting are at a cost disadvantage versus fly by night companies that simply throw the old fluorescent light bulbs away.  We urge all companies to make sure they are dealing with a lighting retrofitter that is recycling the bulbs.   After all you aren't a "green" company if your service provider is polluting the environment with mercury.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Occupancy Sensors

Occupancy sensors are a great way to save energy in your business.  Did you know that Idaho Power has a $40 rebate for each occupancy sensor a business installs?   

For small areas we find that the PIR (passive infrared) works fine.   We use them in individual bathrooms, and small breakrooms.   For larger bathrooms with stalls, we recommend using the dual technology - (PIR and ultracontic) sensors.  These sensors do not need a direct line of site to sense motion like the PIR sensors do.

Call Bright Ideas Lighting at 378-1889 to have us install occupancy sensors in your business

Sunday, February 7, 2010

LED exit lights

Many businesses still have the old incandescent exit sign lights.  These are high maintenance and energy inefficient fixtures.   The fixtures typically use 2  20 watt incandescent screwin light bulbs (rated life is only 2000 hours).  These fixtures can be replaced with a new LED exit sign which uses only abou 2-4 watts depending on brand.  The LED lights typically are going to last at least 20,000 hours.  

The energy savings per year with the new LED light fixture is approximately $20 per year.

Idaho Power is currently offering a $15 rebate to businesses who make the switch from the old incandescent exit light fixtures to the new LED exit sign fixtures.   The rebate is easy to get and Bright Ideas Lighting Co will fill out the Idaho Power paper work for you. 

Bright Ideas Lighting serves the Boise metro area and the entire Treasure Valley.   Call us for all your lighting needs.

Thursday, January 21, 2010