Posted by Doug Root on 20th Aug 2019

3 Cost Effective LED Retrofits for Warehouses

LED fixtures and retrofit lamps for warehouses have come a long way in the past two years. The technology is constantly improving, lumens per watt is rising, and the cost has come down dramatically. As a result, for many businesses, the switch to LED lighting in their warehouses has become a serious consideration. Over the past two years, we have quoted hundreds of lighting retrofits; some we received the orders for, and some we did not. We have found that for many, the biggest drawback is the cost of the project.

When looking at a lighting fixture retrofit, such as metal halide LED retrofits for warehouses, the cost can rise significantly when you have to relocate junction boxes, run new conduit, or reconfigure the lighting layout. When these labor costs are added into the project, it can make the Return On Investment less attractive.

ALB Energy Solutions has made it a point to find and locate top suppliers of "Easy" LED warehouse lighting retrofits for our property owners and managers. We want to make the retrofit cost-effective and attractive for the CFO or owner. In doing our research, we found that in many instances, when you can reuse the existing fixtures, the ROI on the project skyrocketed, and our close rate on lighting project sales was much higher. So, let’s REUSE our fixtures!

Option 1: T12 Lamps

One easy fix is to simply remove the T12 lamps from the fixture and replace them with  ballast bypass or plug-and-play LED T8 bulbs. 8 foot T12 fixtures are located in thousands of warehouses, distribution centers, and commercial buildings throughout the country. These fixtures were the "go-to" fixture for decades. The 8 foot T12 fixture ( 2 lamps & ballast) pulls about 126 watts of electricity to operate and has a lumens per watt of 86. Fluorescent technology was king of the hill for many years, but now LED warehouse lighting fixtures and lamps can leapfrog this system. By switching to this LED system, you can expect about 120 lumens per watt, with a total wattage ranging from 60-72 depending on the LED T8 lamps you choose.

In most of the warehouses that these are installed in, we find the fixtures "daisy-chained" with conduit. This means that the conduit feeds directly in and out of the fixture, so if the fixture were to be removed, new conduit and junction boxes would need to be installed, which can cost up to $150 per fixture.

Option 1: The Bulbs

ALB online now carries an LED warehouse lighting retrofit for 8 foot T12 fixtures. Retrofit by reusing the existing fixture. You will need (1)  KT-RKIT-SP-W-82-C4-4LED kit, (1) 873-902 Lumi Nut and (4) LED T8 Direct Wire Tube Lights.

Option 1: The Installation

The installation is EASY - first turn off the power to the light fixture. Then you remove the fixtures belly pan that covers the ballast, wiring and such. Next, you remove the sockets and cut the wires leading to the existing sockets. Cut the power to the ballast and leave the ballast in the fixture.

You will now only be using the black and white wires and the green ground wire. Slide the sockets onto the new belly pan, with the power (live feed) in the middle sections of the (2) 4-foot belly pan covers. Install the other 4 sockets on the outer edges (no power or wires connected to these).

Now you are ready to install the new LED warehouse lighting retrofit. Install a new male disconnect onto the black and white wires in the fixture (yellow connector to the left). Connect the female and male power connections. Slide the new covers over the existing 8-foot channel. Secure the fixture with the provided machine screws and, most importantly, install the new label marking this fixture as a modified fixture that will no longer operate  fluorescent lamps.

Option 2: Retrofitting Metal Halide High Bay Fixtures

Another popular fixture that has been used in millions of square feet of warehouses over the years is the 400W metal halide high bay fixture. The punch of these fixtures made them the best option for high ceilings and warehouses with cold operating temperatures. The 400W metal halide fixture is a workhorse that consumes a ton of electricity - about 458 to be exact. Many buildings have 20-100 of these installed. When you do the math, the energy cost on this can be staggering, not to mention the maintenance cost for replacement lamps and ballast.

Until now, the options were simply to remove old  metal halide lamps and replace them with new LED warehouse lighting. However, Keystone Lighting Technologies has made the process of switching from metal halide high bay fixtures to metal halide LED retrofits as easy as 1-2-3.

Option 2: The First Step

Let's find out what kind of metal halide system you have. You will need to identify the type of system in play by checking the part number on the existing bulb. To do so, turn off the power. Wait 15-20 minutes for the 400W metal halide bulb to cool down. Once cooled down, you will need to use a lift or ladder to safely gain access to the fixture. Unscrew the lamp and look for the part number etched on the glass. If it is a 400W or 320W bulb, you will be able to use the Philips or the Keystone Lighting LED retrofit bulb.

To verify what system we have, we need to find the "M code". The M code is the ANSI ballast designation for the lamp. If it says M59, M59/E, M59/O, M132, M135/E, M135/O, M155, M155/O, or M155/E, we can use the referenced model above.

Our most popular and versatile metal halide LED warehouse lighting model is the  Keystone KT-LED130. It is offered in 4000k (cool white) or 5000k (bright white). They will work on 320W metal halide or 400W metal halide ballasts.

Option 2: The Second Step

We are retrofitting a 400W metal halide pulse start M135/E high bay demo fixture that we have hanging in our warehouse.

The power was already off, and the lamp was already removed from the fixture. At this point, we have done all the major work.

Now, all we need to do is to screw in our new 400W metal halide LED retrofit replacement lamp.

Once the lamp is tightly screwed into the socket, you will need to attach the lamp to the wire and hook system. This secures the lamp.

Remember, there is no need to touch the ballast or do any rewiring.

Option 2: The Third Step

Turn on the power and enjoy the benefits of higher light levels, instant-on light (no warm-up time like with metal halide), and reduced power consumption that yields 60-80% energy savings.

Keystone's SmartDrive technology makes these LED warehouse lighting lamps truly plug-and-play, by allowing them to operate directly off of existing ballasts. Simply replace the existing MH lamp with the SmartDrive lamp without making any modifications to the fixture.

The SmartDrive lamp has a rated life of 50,000 hours – 5 times longer than that of MH lamps. This eliminates costly replacement cycles and reduces maintenance costs.

Option 3: LED T5 Lamps

About ten years ago, many building managers and property owners began retrofitting their warehouses and distribution centers with new T5 high output fluorescent high bay fixtures. These fixtures were much more efficient than the existing 400W metal halide or the 8 foot T12 strip fixtures. The system watts on these fixtures significantly cut the existing wattage and offered good ROI for their owners up until now. However, ALB now has an LED warehouse lighting retrofit for that retrofit.  LED T5 lamps are now here and they’re simple plug-and-play replacements for existing T5 54W fluorescent lamps.

The installation is SUPER EASY. All you need to do is turn the power off the existing T5 HO  fluorescent fixtures. Safely remove each of the F54T5/HO lamps from the fixture and install the new LED T5 lamps. Turn the power on and BOOM, you are already done.

Our selection of LED T5 lamps is vast. We offer various color temperatures from TopstarPhilipsKeystone, and others.

Shop Retrofit Options at Atlanta Light Bulbs

These are a few of our favorite options to retrofit warehouses with LED lighting. These options keep sustainability in mind as we are reusing the existing fixtures. They are cost-effective because they have very little electrical work that needs to be done in the installation. This will help keep your ROI high.

So, if you are ready to go for LED lighting in your warehouse or anywhere else, and you’re in Atlanta or any other city in the US, call us. Our lighting experts are waiting to assist you with your next LED lighting retrofit.