Lights are changing and I am presenting my old LOOK UP seminars from the 1980s once again. However, I am speaking about LED lights today and not about the compact fluorescents lights of the 1980s that saved money, energy, and earth. Yes, compact fluorescent bulbs have been available since 1982, unfortunately most people didn’t hear or learn about them until fifteen years later. That is another story.
Today, several questions are circulating more and more about LED tubes that can replace Fluorescent four foot tubes. More so now than before because of the lower prices and the recent popularity of standard LED light bulbs.
First I will list and answer the most common questions, followed by some specific queries:
Yes, LEDs are dimmable but confirm on package text.
Yes, LED tubes can fit into current fluorescent fixtures.
Yes, LED tubes have a longer life span than fluorescents.
Yes, LED tubes consume less energy, thus securing lower electric bills.
Yes, like LED bulbs, the four foot tubes come in different color ranges of light.
Yes, there is a far lower impact on our environment compared to fluorescents.
Yes, energy efficiency is increasing on LEDs and lower electric bills will abound.
With replacing four foot fluorescent tubes with LEDs you now have several options:
A standard LED tube will cost less than a Hybrid and will be a more efficient way to operate. The reason is because you will be operating off the line current directly and there is no need for a ballast. Operating without the old energy consuming ballast will save more in electricity and money per fixture. However, when disconnecting just one or a few ballasts in a small shop or your home, it will be cheaper to buy the Hybrid tubes than to pay a licensed electrician to disconnect a ballast or two. For any location with a large number of fluorescent fixtures the opposite will be true. You will need to crunch some specific numbers for yourself to know how many fixtures represents which method is more efficient. On average, paybacks are less than one year when you disconnect your ballasts for each fixture and put in new LED tubes.
On the topic of different ranges of colors, you will mostly see these three labels for the most popular colors of light output:
Warm White , Soft White, and Bright White. The first will create a yellow warm light just like standard incandescent light bulbs. The Soft White will be close to the fluorescent light we all know in an office and the Bright White is also known as Daylight, this is cooler color and has an emphasis on blue tones. The name Daylight is used because the light is similar to the color of light we see in the North sky. Our sun travels from east to south to west, but never does the sun pass through the North sky, thus leaving us to see a very natural and balanced light.
So next time you are sitting in your office, store, or even your own play room down in the basement with fluorescent fixtures, Look Up! If you do not see LEDs, tell your boss, your doctor or dentist, store owner, and yourself to change over to LEDs. Only then, we the people can make a significant difference while saving money, energy, health, and our environment for our grandchildren.
Bill Lauto, at GoingTrueGreen.com
International Sustainability and Energy Consultant
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