Lighting FAQs

  • Why retrofit my lighting?

    Typical commercial and industrial buildings make use of high intensity discharge (HID) fixtures using metal halide (white light) or high-pressure sodium (yellow light) lamps. These lamps are usually specified by contractors due to their relatively low capital cost.

  • What technology should I use to replace my current HID lighting?

    Each type of space has different requirements for lighting and one technology will not be suitable for every application; however Jackson EMC members have had great success replacing their HID fixtures for fluorescent fixtures using 4 or 6 lamp T8 or T5 lamps and electronic ballasts.

  • How much energy can I save?

    Popular retrofits using fluorescent technologies decrease lighting energy consumption (kWh) as much as 60% and reduce the lighting power density (kW/sq. ft.) as much as 60%.

  • What is the payback period?

    The simple payback of a lighting retrofit is dependent on the price of new equipment, hours of operation, lighting controls and cost of electric service per kilowatt-hour. All of these parameters are unique to each facility but common payback periods for HID to Fluorescent lighting retrofits are 1-3 years with incentives.

  • Are there federal or state tax incentives available for energy efficiency retrofits?

    For the most up-to-date list of federal and state incentives visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency. Searching is available on a federal level, state level, or by zip code. Another resource is Energy.gov here the nationwide tax credits, rebates and savings are listed and a search is available by state.

  • Does Jackson EMC offer any incentives for lighting retrofits?

    Jackson EMC currently does not offer any financial incentives for efficient lighting retrofits.

  • Will lighting retrofits reduce the total amount of light in my facility?

    The efficacy or amount of light you get out per Watt of power put in will generally be about the same for both modern fluorescent lamps and modern HID lamps; however, fluorescent lamps have a higher Color Rendering Index (CRI) which improves the quality of light and perceived brightness. Fluorescent lamps also do not have the typical color shifts that are seen in older HID metal halide or high pressure sodium lamps. 

  • Do fluorescent lamps last longer than HID metal halide and high-pressure sodium lamps?

    HID lamps have significantly higher light depreciation versus fluorescent lamps. Both technologies are rated for approximately 20,000 - 24,000 hours of operation but HID lamps experience lumen depreciation of 35-40% within the first 8,000 hours of operation and 60% by the end of the lamp’s life. Fluorescent lumen depreciation is typically 5-10%. 

  • Are fluorescent lamps and fixtures suitable for high bay applications?

    With the right fixture, T8 and T5 (including High Output) are better suited for high-bay applications over traditional metal halide or high pressure sodium fixtures. These HID fixtures are considered ‘point sources’ which do not distribute light throughout the space well. This is especially the case for warehouse applications where racks of inventory would receive only a marginal amount of light.

  • Are there any other added benefits of fluorescent retrofits?

    Fluorescent lamps produce much less heat than HID metal halide or high-pressure sodium lamps. This heat is injected into the building like a heater and if the space is air conditioned, this is an added load placed on HVAC equipment which in turn will have to consume extra energy to remove the heat produced by these lamps. 

  • Do fluorescent lamps require the same re-strike time that HID metal halide or high-pressure sodium lamps have?

    No, fluorescent lamps with appropriate electronic ballasts can be instant on without severely diminishing the life of the lamps. HID lamps are now available with pulse start electronic ballasts which significantly reduce the re-strike time and extend lamp life but this is still not an instant on system as seen in fluorescents. 

  • What type of controls can I use for my energy efficient lighting retrofit?

    Since fluorescent lighting systems are instant-on, there are a variety of controls that can be used including motion sensors, IR sensors, carbon dioxide occupancy sensors, and forms of bi-level switching.  Motion sensors controlling individual fixtures or zones/groups of fixtures are most popular. 

  • Are my HID metal halide or high-pressure sodium fixtures more dangerous than fluorescent lamps?

    Metal halide fixtures have been known to explode at the end of the lamp’s life, but even fluorescent lamps have some amount of danger associated with them. Fluorescent lamps contain small amounts of mercury compounds that can be hazardous if handled incorrectly.