5 Types of LED Fixture (Retrofits) – and How to Install Them

Businesses, institutions, and organizations are always looking for ways to decrease their energy costs because traditional lighting systems consume a lot of electricity. LED lighting, which is very energy-efficient, has replaced conventional lights in many applications.

Many building managers, property owners, and other decision-makers are choosing retrofitting over a full fixture replacement because it is a less expensive way of converting to LED technology. With retrofitting, traditional lamps and ballasts are replaced with LEDs but the existing fixtures (the bulb housings) are retained. LED fixture retrofits are many and there are different retrofits for specific applications.

Today, we’ll be looking at 5 retrofit fixtures. Let's get right to it.

1.   LED Retrofit-Kits for Parking Lots, Streets, and Poles

Parking lots and streets must be well lit in order to improve safety and security. These areas are usually illuminated by large lighting fixtures. In the past, metal halide, high pressure sodium, and low pressure sodium lamps were used in parking lot lighting poles.

But these lights have numerous issues. They take a while to warm up and cool down, use a lot of electricity, lose their brightness very fast, and need a lot of maintenance. That's why they were quickly replaced by (LED) ShoeBox Retrofits.

What are shoebox lights?

These are square or rectangular lighting fixtures that illuminate large areas with ease. Their shape, as well as their placement, ensures the light they produce is both powerful and effective.

Other common LED fixture retrofits that are used in parking lots, streets, and poles are cobra head fixtures and corn bulbs. Cobra head lamps are named for their shape, they have protrusions where the bulbs go in. Corn bulbs have LED chips set on metal structures. They got their name because the pattern of the LEDs is similar to kernels on a corn cob.

All these 3 retrofits can be installed on existing lighting fixtures. They provide powerful light, have long lifespans (50000+ hours), and reduce energy usage by up to 75%.

2.   Retrofit Fixtures for Garages, Gas Stations, and Canopies

Retrofit fixtures for gas stations, garages, and canopies significantly reduce your energy bill, have low maintenance costs, and have the ability to increase curb appeal. Most gas station lighting fixtures installed at the fuel pump usually feature metal halide lamps.

MyLEDLightingGuide stocks a wide variety of retrofits that can replace these lights. They can be mounted on the ceiling or on the wall to provide clean, bright light. Some retrofits can be installed into the existing box-type fixtures while others can be mounted on a canopy for a clean look.

If you own or manage a gas station, retrofit the existing metal halide lamps with LED lighting. Your gas station will stand out for all the right reasons. Drivers will feel safe, the service island will look more inviting, and the interior shelves and aisles will pop.

LED technology provides high-quality light that illuminates the pump island area to the set standards and meets the local energy codes. LED fixtures have precise optical control which ensures that the light is directed where it is needed. Be sure to choose LED luminaries that are specially designed for use in gas stations, garages, or canopies.

3.   Retrofitting Wall Packs

Wall pack lights are lights mounted on the outside walls of buildings. They are some of the most common outdoor fixtures for commercial buildings. Their main function is to illuminate building walls or the areas next to buildings. These lights use powerful lamp heads that are energy-efficient, long-lasting, and have little light pollution. They provide additional security to buildings as they light up specific outdoor areas.

In the past, wall pack fixtures used traditional bulbs like metal halide, high pressure sodium, and fluorescent lamps. And while these lighting technologies may produce bright light, they lack the efficiency of LEDs. High pressure sodium lamps generate very yellow light, metal halide have short lifespans, while fluorescent lamps consume a lot of electricity.

Since these lighting systems do not have long lifespans, you have to change out the bulbs every 2 years. In addition, high intensity discharge bulbs that are normally used in wall packs consume approximately 100 to 400 watts of power. These lights use ballasts which also consume a lot of electricity and have short lifespans, meaning they have to be replaced at the same time as the lights.

The best thing about LEDs is that they produce the same amount of lumens (brightness) as traditional lights but consume very few watts. This means you can install lower wattage retrofits in your wall packs – because of their enhanced power. Depending on the mounting height, you can get LEDs in the 20W-100W range and they will make perfect substitutes for traditional bulbs.

4.   Retrofits for High Bay and Low Bay Applications

High bay lights and low bay lights are terms used in the lighting industry to describe lights that are usually mounted directly on ceilings, on ceiling girders, or via chains and pendants. These lights are usually the best option for large, open spaces with ceilings higher than 10 feet – like industrial facilities, factories, warehouses, gymnasiums, big retail stores, loading docks, sports arenas, factories, and other indoor areas that may need light fixtures to be mounted on high ceilings. However, the specific height of the ceiling determines whether low bay or high bay lights are needed.

High bay lights are used in ceilings that are 20 feet and above. The LED bulbs usually have lens angles which help spread the light uniformly. For a long time, metal halide and high pressure sodium bulbs were the only technologies used in high bay light fixtures. But since LED technology was introduced, most businesses have made the switch to the energy-efficient lighting system.

Commercial spaces whose ceilings have a height between 12 feet and 20 feet usually feature low bay lighting. LEDs used in low bay applications have lens angles to further spread the light. Since these lens angles direct light to specific areas, fewer lights may be needed in a commercial space.

The other thing that differentiates high bay lights from low bay lights – apart from the ceiling height requirements –  is that the lumen output and the light intensity usually varies. Low bay lighting has a very high light intensity while high bay lighting has a low light intensity as there's more room for the light to diffuse before it hits the ground.

LED bay lighting is the best option as it is specifically designed for large spaces and boosts visibility and worker safety. The light fixtures achieve instant brightness and their lifespans are not affected by constant on-off cycles like fluorescent and HID fixtures. They offer many years of service, cutting down maintenance and replacement costs.

5.   Tube Retrofits for Linear T8 / T10 / T12 Lamps

Picking the right LED replacements for fluorescent tubes can be quite confusing because of the many products and installation options available. But due to the rising consumer demand for high-quality LED replacement products, which has been fueled by recent industry changes, LED manufacturers have created products that can perfectly replace T8, T10, and T12 linear fluorescent tubes.

Manufacturers came up with these solutions because building owners and facility managers were always looking for energy-efficient lighting systems to replace problematic fluorescent which have short lifespans and also use ballast technology.

LED fluorescent replacement tubes feature the same bi-pin configuration as fluorescent lamps so all an electrician has to do is remove or bypass the old fluorescent ballasts, sending the power directly to the LED driver or to the LED tube and powering the LED lamps.

LED replacement tubes come in three designs: type A simply replaces the existing fluorescent tube, type B requires wiring to the main voltage, bypassing the fluorescent ballast, and type C requires removing the existing ballast and replacing it. Replacing fluorescent tubes with type B or type C LED bulbs is more labor-intensive, but the light fixtures will become more energy-efficient. Type C offers the best energy-efficient solution of all options.

LED fluorescent replacement tubes can be used in offices, educational institutions, interior spaces, freezers, plus coolers, exterior sign back-lighting, and other indoor spaces. They have a 50,000-hour lamp life and do not hum and flicker like fluorescent lamps. Their light output can also be dimmed up to 100%, unlike fluorescent.

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