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Fundamental Considerations When Choosing LED Tube Lamps

With constantly improving lighting efficacy (lumen per watt) and increasing lifetime, combined with little need for maintenance, low energy consumption and utility company rebates, the adoption of LED T8 tube lamps for lighting applications in commercial, industrial, educational, hospital, apartment, and retail facilities has accelerated dramatically over the last couple of years. However, facilities managers and lighting contractors who are new to LED lighting may be confused when it comes to choosing the right LED T8 lamp for their energy-efficient projects. Below is a list of fundamental points to consider when planning for an upgrade to LED tubes.

Double-ended LED tube: Energized using the existing wiring to both lamp holders of the fixture, as shown in the diagram below. Requires bypassing the ballast and simply connecting “hot to hot” and “neutral to neutral” (Always follow installation instructions). Certain single-ended LED tubes can be wired as a double-ended tube. However, this requires additional wiring and therefore more time and higher costs.



Single-ended LED tube: Uses only one of the two lamp holders but requires non-shunted lamp holders, as shown in the diagram below. If the existing fixture uses shunted lamp holders, they must be replaced with non-shunted lamp holders or the entire fixture must be upgraded, both of which will require more time and lead to higher costs.



Price difference: In general, the double-ended LED tube is slightly more expensive than the single-ended LED tube, but this cost difference is easily offset by the savings on installation time.

Retrofit versus upgrade: Double-ended LED tubes are best suited for retrofitting existing fixtures, while single-ended LED tubes are used with new fixtures. However, when installation costs are circumvented by employing in-house facility staff, single-ended LED tubes can also be used for retrofitting existing fixtures.

Safety requirements: The new UL 1598C safety requirements for the LED retrofit kit takes effect February 2013 and will supersede the 1598B requirements. For liability coverage, use UL1598C classified LED tubes only.

Energy consumption: 18 watt LED tubes still provide the best return on your investment. When compared to 32 watt fluorescent lamps and 22 watt LED tubes, the lighting efficacy (LPW) is roughly the same, but the delta in savings obtained from reducing 32 watts to 18 watts will yield more savings in the long term.

Rebate programs: Rebate requirements differ greatly from one utility to the next. The U.S. Department of Energy hosts a website at http://www.dsireusa.org, where it lists the most energy-efficient rebates and incentives in the U.S. However, the data shown at the site may not be up-to-date. For the latest rebate requirements, please contact your local utility company.

Aleddra offers both EasiRetrofit™ (double-ended) and single-ended LED tubes. Our EasiRetrofit™ LED tubes can be used with both shunted and non-shunted lamp holders and saves 50 to 70% of installation time when compared to single-ended LED tubes. To find out how Aleddra can help you with your energy-efficient lighting retrofit, contact your local distributors or Aleddra at 425-430-4555, or email us at sales@aleddra.com.

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