Reducing Energy WHILE Improving Lighting Quality

a guest post by Lisa J. Reed, Lighting Designer


What is quality lighting? That is a loaded question! Lighting quality is a combination of human factors, architectural considerations, and engineering. Good color, appropriate light levels, no flicker, no glare. It fits the design of the building, meets code, provides safety and security. It is easy to maintain, has a reasonable operational cost, and minimal environmental impact. Quality light is where you need it (and not where you don't.)

If you replace old 4-lamp T12 fluorescent fixtures, the upgrade will save energy and it will improve other measurable quality metrics. Multiple studies have even proven that lighting upgrades can increase worker productivity.

What will improve when you upgrade?

  1. Color – Rare earth phosphors used in newer fluorescent technology render colors more accurately than old T12 lamps.
  2. Energy consumption – Today's fixtures, lamps, and ballasts are more efficient, allowing you to easily go from a four-lamp fixture to a three-lamp fixture or in some cases even just two lamps with no light loss. This isn't a smoke and mirrors reflector system changing distribution of the light. Compared to T12 fluorescents with magnetic ballasts, this is true advancement in lighting system technology.
  3. Footcandles – Some older spaces are simply overlit. In this case, using fewer lights saves energy and improves quality.
  4. Flicker – Old T12 fluorescent magnetically ballasted systems flicker, which can cause headaches in sensitive individuals. Change the lights. Save energy. Eliminate flicker.
  5. Glare – Changing out an old lighting system also gives you the opportunity to eliminate glare. This is your chance to remove, relocate, or add a lens to light fixtures that are a source of discomfort because of glare.
  6. Environmental Impact – Today's lamps contain less mercury, and now ballasts contain no PCBs. You’ll need to carefully dispose of old systems according to Federal requirements, but new systems are less toxic, which is a win for the entire planet.

Give it a try! Upgrade to save energy and let us know how the quality of the lighting in your space improves.

Lisa J Reed photo - Lighting Blog

Lisa J. Reed has been attracted to lighting (like a moth to a flame) for 20+ years. She is the Founding Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC in St. Louis, where she designs, teaches, and writes about architectural lighting.


The opinions expressed by authors herein and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Graybar Electric Company, Inc. or any employee thereof. Graybar Electric Company, Inc. is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the authors or commenters. All the information on this website is published in good faith and for general information purpose only. Graybar Electric Company, Inc. does not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information you find on this website, is strictly at your own risk. Graybar Electric Company, Inc. will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with the use of our website.