Replace linear fluorescents
If you have T8 linear fluorescent lights, (long fluorescent tube lights) then your most cost effective alternative is to replace them with T5 linear fluorescent tubes.
T5 tubes use less energy and the electronic control equipment also prevents flicker and improves lamp life. It will not be a completely straight swap though because T5 tubes use shorter and thinner lamps with different pin spacing. They therefore require electronic control equipment.
Replace the light fitting and with a single T5 tube fitting
It is recommended that you replace the light fitting and install a high-efficiency light containing either a single or twin T5 lamp. To do this you will need to upgrade the light fitting.
- This is the recommended option because you will save as much as 67 per cent of the energy consumed by twin T8 tube lights
If this will not meet required light levels you can install a twin T5 fitting and still achieve good savings
Replace T8 tubes with a T5 conversion kit
If you want to keep the existing light fitting then a cheaper and easier option is to install a T5 conversion kit. A conversion kit is an adaptor with a built-in electronic ballast that allows you to use a T5 lamp in a T8 fitting.
- This option will reduce the amount of energy used by 25 - 50 per cent
- The conversion kit will cost $30 - $40 per tube replaced
- The payback period is between 1 - 3 years
This should only be undertaken if the existing light fitting and components are in good condition. You will not need a professional electrician to complete this task.
Replace with LED linear tube lights
Light emitting diode (LED) linear tubes can also be used as replacements for T8 tubes.
- You can re-use existing light fittings
- This option will reduce the amount of energy used by 50 - 70 per cent
- They will last a really long time – around 50,000 hours
- The lights will cost between $40 and $140 a pair
- The payback period is between 2-6 years
Issues to be aware of:
- LED linear tube lights are a new technology and can have varying performance and quality issues so we suggest a trial before full roll-out
- LED tubular lamps produce less light than T8 lamps so you should assess whether adequate lighting levels will be maintained
- Most of the light produced by an LED lamp is projected forward so you will need to ensure spacings are appropriate
The condition of the existing light fitting should be taken into account before tube replacement. You will need to use a professional electrician to re-wire the light fittings. Read more about buying good quality LED lights.
If you have twin linear fluorescent tube lights you might also consider de-lamping. This is a technique where twin lights are changed to single lights by removing one tube and leaving just one to function. This is only appropriate where an area is over-lit and can accommodate a reduction in light levels.