Come with me if you want to saveYes, I am from the 90s when Terminator 2: Judgement Day was the coolest thing since sliced bread.  Since then, seemingly dozens of sequels, prequils, and postquils have come out, so I’m adding my own.  In the world of ever increasing utility costs, as Sarah Connor would say, there is no fate but what we make for ourselves.  T8: Retrofit Day.

At TRI University Centre, UHN’s energy and environment department has worked with facilities to replace T8 fluorescent lamps (those 4 foot long tubes) with more efficient LED equivalents.  Here’s a link to Chad’s blog if you want more background on lighting.  So far, we have targeted 24 hour areas to maximize savings and we have replaced 720 tubes in corridors, stairwells, and elevator lobbies.  Facilities manager Gord Wood and his team have been very enthusiastic about the project and were extremely helpful and quick in providing the installation labour.  A special congratulation goes to UC building operator Ed Madulid for recently achieving his energy efficient building operator certification!

The new integrated LED tubes on the market are a simple plug and play solution that do not require any electrical modifications to fixtures.  This has significantly reduced the complexity and cost of fluorescent lighting retrofits.  In this project we used GE 18W integrated LED tubes, but there are now many alternatives on the market.  The tubes have replaced existing 32W fluorescent tubes.

The results of the project have been very positive so far: lighting levels have remained the same if not slightly improved, electricity savings will be approximately $11,500 per year, and we received a rebate from Toronto Hydro, resulting in a payback period of only one year.  Another benefit is that we have removed hundred of fluorescent lights that contain toxic mercury, making the site safer for staff and patients.  LEDs do not contain mercury.  Furthermore, the LED lamps last significantly longer than fluorescents, so facilities staff will waste less time changing light bulbs and can spend more time running the building efficiently and keeping occupants comfortable.

We’ve done some further testing on the power consumption (see photo below for our test set up) of the LED lamps vs the fluorescents and found some interesting results.  We found that the LED always used at least 27% less, but there was significant variations in savings up to 55% depending on which ballast we used.  For these type of projects, it is a good idea to do some testing on your particular lamp-ballast combination in order to get exact savings numbers.


With the success at TRI-UC, we are currently planning a wider roll out across UHN for similar T8 LED retrofits.  So when it comes to blogging about LED savings, I’ll be back!