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Tips for Upgrading to TLEDs

Looking for a great way to cut energy bills and the carbon footprint of your building? Consider the ROI of an LED lighting upgrade. There’s no shortage of options available to switch out traditional fluorescent lighting with tubular LEDs (TLEDs) or kits that help give a new look to old fixtures. 

Along with technical advancements, no relamping for over a decade, and competitive pricing, the benefits of TLEDs bolster its growing popularity in industrial and warehouse settings. Add-ons like new fixtures, dimmer controls, and color variations are also available for extra costs.

It’s not uncommon to see this investment pay for itself in an average of about three years. However, before you make the switch, there are a few tips to keep in mind. Not all TLED lighting products and distributors are created equal, and finding the right vendor increases the value of your retrofit.

Adjust Savings Expectations

It can be easy to be lured by massive claims of cost and energy savings by less reputable LED manufacturers so take the time to separate fact from fiction. Wattage reductions can vary from 35% to 85%, but where you end up on that spectrum depends on your starting point. TLEDs are often great replacements for traditional industrial & commercial fluorescent tubular lighting.

Expect consistent savings to be around 35-50% when replacing compact fluorescent lighting. While T8 fluorescent lamps were the industrial go-to choice about 20 years ago, they’re quickly being eliminated by TLED lighting that will maintain light levels while offering around 50% savings. You’ll see some cost and energy saving by replacing only the lighting, but that number can jump even higher when you replace entire fixtures. 

Check The Spread

The design of lighting is just as important as the quality you choose. TLED retrofits may provide lower light levels than traditional tubular fluorescent lighting, creating safety risks and eye strain for occupants. Avoid this risk by researching lighting specs and looking for a number that indicates beam angle.

Simply put, the beam angle is the angle at which the light is directed and at its most intense level. The higher the beam angle, the more surface the light will cover, but the levels will also be diffused the further out the rays travel. For TLEDs, look for beam angles over 200 degrees — you’ll also find some bulbs that go as high as 300 degrees. This way you won’t lose wattage, surface lighting coverage, or intensity you’ve been used to from fluorescent bulbs.

Think about testing out a few TLEDs in areas where you’re considering a retrofit. This will allow for an accurate representation of the new lighting in your space. Take notes and consult occupants for feedback, especially if the lighting change could potentially impact their job performance (i.e. warehouse or dock workers that prioritize safety). While you’re testing out your options, look for flicker in the TLEDs. Many people are sensitive to non-visible bursts of lighting intensity that’s common in fluorescent bulbs and can experience headaches, fatigue, eye strain, and even seizures. Choosing high-quality TLEDs can eliminate flicker.

Consider Color & Control

Just as your fluorescent lights were chosen with color in mind — cool, warm, or daylight — so too should the TLEDs you choose. For these retrofits, make sure to take note of the correlated color temperature (CCT) and color rendering index (CRI) score. In industrial facilities and warehouses, this may not be a priority and swapping out fluorescents with TLEDs can often go unnoticed. Simply look for TLEDs with similar CCT and CRI specs as the current fluorescent lighting

However, in facilities like retail stores or healthcare settings, lighting color makes a noticeable impact. Even when the CCT and CRI numbers in TLEDs are similar to the fluorescent lighting, they ultimately could have different appearances because TLEDs emit less red light. If you’re showcasing products like home decor or artwork, you’ll want to work closely with LED lighting pros to purchase high-quality bulbs that don’t impact their aesthetic quality.

Intensity is also important in certain settings. TLED bulbs and kits can’t be controlled by traditional dimmers, so upgrading entire fixtures to include dimmers is required in these instances. Occupancy sensors can increase the ROI of TLED upgrades as well by turning off lights in your facility when they’re not needed.

Sometimes finding the right lighting is as simple as figuring out what you’re lacking. An audit from our team of LED lighting pros will help you understand your best options when it comes to upgrading your fluorescent commercial or industrial lighting to TLEDs. We’ll let you know what will work best for your space and your bank account. Knowing your needs, we can make the best recommendation — get in touch to schedule your audit.