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LED Retrofit Lamps: A Simple Energy Efficiency Upgrade

Updated on April 26, 2016
A T8 replacement LED lamp.
A T8 replacement LED lamp. | Source

Benefits of LED Lighting

Regardless of whether you own a home or a business, when you upgrade to LED lighting you can expect the following benefits:

  • Energy savings above 80% compared to incandescent lighting, and of up to 50% when replacing fluorescent lighting.
  • A much longer service life than older and less efficient technologies: an LED bulb may last up to 25,000 hours, a T8 equivalent tube may last for 50,000 hours, and some high-performance LED fixtures last up to 100,000 hours. This greatly reduces the maintenance needs of your lighting system.
  • If the air conditioner is used frequently, you will save even more energy because LED lighting releases less heat. This results in an AC load reduction... one lamp does not make much of a difference, but the effect can be considerable in facilities with hundreds of lamps such as large multi-story building.

The high initial investment tends to be the main barrier when upgrading lighting to LED, but fortunately there is a wide selection of products that allow a direct replacement of traditional lamp types without changing the whole fixture. This article will show you some examples.

Upgrading Light Bulbs to LED

How do LED bulbs compare with older types such as incandescent bulbs and CFLs? The following table carries out the comparison for a 100-watt incandescent bulb and its CFL and LED equivalents.

Keep in mind the numbers can vary by manufacturer, but this will give you a general idea on what to expect.

Bulb Type
Power Consumption
Service Life
100 W
1000 hours
25 W
10000 hours
19 W
25000 hours

Upgrading T8 Tubes to LED

Fluorescent T8 tubes are used in a wide variety of commercial and industrial settings. Although they are already quite efficient as a technology, an LED retrofit can help you achieve savings in the range of 30 to 50 percent. When you consider that commercial and industrial lighting operates for long hours, the savings really add up.

LED T8 equivalent tubes are designed to work with the same ballasts used by fluorescent T8 lamps, which means that the upgrade is as simple as removing the existing lamp and installing its LED equivalent. You will save a lot on labor if you follow this approach when upgrading T8 lighting to LED.

An LED retrofit will also reduce the maintenance needs of your lighting system: T8 tubes last for 20,000 hours on average, but their LED equivalents have a rated life of 50,000 hours.

Upgrading Metal Halide Lamps to LED

Metal halide lamps are widely used in outdoor and industrial settings. MH lamps are powerful in terms of lumen output, but they also draw a lot of power and can represent considerable energy expenses.

A simple way to upgrade from metal halide to LED is to use replacement lamps that are designed for the same base as MH, while also being compatible with the ballast. When you carry out this type of retrofit, you replace a 400-watt bulb for a 150-watt LED equivalent. In other words, you achieve savings above 60 percent!

As with other types of LED retrofits, you also reduce the maintenance needs of your lighting system: MH bulbs normally need a replacement after 10,000 hours of use or less, while their LED counterparts are rated for 50,000 hours.

If you want to read more about the advantages of LED lighting over metal halide, you can read the following article:


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