Monday, May 3, 2010

Electronic Ballast and lamps T8 and T5 (part 2)


Magnetic vs. Electronic Ballast

Magnetic ballast are now prohibited per EPACT 2005, but are still in operation in the majority of buildings in the US. They are the main reason for concern in a retrofit lighting audit. You have to be aware that magnetic ballast are a high consumption of energy element in a building and can be more susceptible to power quality issues than electronic ballast. They work operate with 60Hz frequency witch they have to increase by vibration to excite the lamps gases and keep them on. This vibration causes a high pitch noise that can affect hearing and cause power quality problems with computers and other electronic components that are sensitive to RFI noise. Electronic ballast convert 60Hz frequency to MHz frequency without the noise. Some engineers in buildings may have concerns with Total Harmonics Distortion and electronic ballast. They should not, because it has been shown that magnetic ballast also produce Harmonic Distortion and the technology used in the majority of electronic ballast is well bellow the percentage recommended by IEEE.

The main conclusion is that you are way better off, making the change or retrofit with electronic ballast, than having a high energy consuming fixture.

If you have questions or comments, please forward them to

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Electronic Ballast and lamps T8 and T5 (part 1)


Electronic ballasts for T8 and T5 lamps, are another element that can help you save energy. As per our latest entry, the ballast are part of a retrofit kit, and an essential part. And why is that? This is because of how a ballast works. An electronic ballast function essentially as a switching power supply, this is how almost all computer and laptops power supplies work. That is why it’s energy consumption is almost imperceptible or has very low or almost none energy consumption.

There are two types of electronic ballast, instant start and rapid or programmed start. Instant start ballast are the most efficient ballast in the market and the type that we recommend almost all of the time. It starts the T8 lamps by giving them a high inrush current to excite the lamps elements (mercury, argon gas, etc), these are the ones that produce the light output.  Rapid start or programmed start electronic ballast work a little different, to start a lamp they maintain the anode and cathode of the lamp heated at all times, and when you switch the lamps on, they start the lamps. This preheat of the anode and cathode of the lamps, causes that this ballast consumes more energy than the instant start ballast. Remember that all T5 lamps use programmed start or rapid start type of ballast.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Retrofit Kits for existing lighting fixtures


First let’s define what is a lighting retrofit? A lighting retrofit is any or all improvements made to a fixture or fixtures in a facility to maintain or improve lighting output, reducing its energy consumption. These improvements are the result of a lighting audit done by an experience energy service company (ESCO) or an experience contractor.

A lighting retrofit kit comes in the form of a group of elements that are used to improve the efficiency of a fixture or fixtures. It may include, but it’s not limited to including, the following:

1.-An Electronic Ballast.

2.-T8 or T5 lamps.

3.-An Specular Aluminum reflector.

4.-Installation materials (ex.: screws, T8 or T5 socket’s, etc.)

Your facility may be proposed some variations of the above mentioned list for your fixtures, but these are the elements in essence. We highly recommend that you do an audit or hire an ESCO to do this job. Also ask them to sample the retrofit on a room or area of your building, so you know beforehand how it will look when the complete retrofit is done. This may cost you, but it is worth it.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Earth day, think about energy saving.


Earth day past, without much glory. 40 years ago, we as a planet started “celebrating” earth day, as an reminder of how small and fragile it really is. We need to understand that our energy resources are being depleted as we speak and that our alternate energy options are few, expensive and taking to long to get going (search “alternate energy sources”, we recommend “TED Talks” on the subject). We know that we have a chance to save energy, with the technologies available in lighting and HVAC. These technologies are not so new, and can help us reduce our carbon footprint. Saving energy is critical to the well being of our planet and there are still a lot of buildings that have 50’s and 60’s lighting and HVAC technologies running, with the potential to save at least 40% to 60% in energy cost. And this is without using expensive lighting technologies like LED or complex HVAC Building Automation Systems.

The point we are trying to bring to the table is that if we pretend to keep living in this earth, we are going to start doing something ourselves, independent of what others are doing. If we don’t know were to start, ask us or another credible source. We have been working with this type of projects constantly and in 3rd world country’s, with great success. Is time to help our one and only earth and it starts with YOU.

Please email us at with questions or comments.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Elements for energy saving.


Energy saving is becoming more and more simple. Elements or products that you can use to save money and energy are becoming available and easier to purchase. But if you still need help, we are here to do just that. In the days ahead we are going to write about the following products, that can help you save money and energy in your commercial building, warehouse of facility. Always keeping in mind the retrofit capabilities of the product recommended, upon our experience. We are going to write about:

1.-Retrofit Kits for existing lighting fixtures.

2.-Electronic Ballast and lamps T8 and T5.

3.-Occupancy Sensors.

4.-Fluorescent High Bays.

5.-Ideas for energy saving on exterior fixtures.

We are going to write about these five topics and try to shed some light on these subjects, base on field experiences and applied solutions.

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