While 4’ fixtures represent a large portion of the commercial market, many people don’t realize there are many 8' fixtures out there. In industrial, education and retail applications, 8’ fixtures are fairly common with some of them still being T12. That means they present a huge opportunity for energy savings.
Originally there were few 8' LED tubes on the market, so most customers would have to use a retrofit kit to convert the 8’ fixture to use 4' tubes instead. This helped the customer save energy while also potentially qualifying for rebates if they used DLC approved tubes. In the past 2 years, more 8' tubes have come on the market to provide an option for a direct retrofit without a conversion kit, but since no DLC category existed these retrofits would often not get rebates. In fact, there were only 71 utilities that would provide rebates for these non-DLC approved tubes and the average rebate was only $3.21.
In April, DLC started accepting 8' products onto their qualified product list. Currently there are only 8 models on the approved list, but we expect that to increase rapidly. The addition of the new category now gives customers 2 options that may have rebates when they're upgrading their 8' fixtures.
Options For 8' Retrofits
4' Tubes with Retrofit Kit
Average rebate of $9.52 - 737 Utilities
- ● Install a retrofit kit in the fixture to convert the fixture from using 8' lamps to 4' lamps.
- ● More work to install upfront compared to 8' tubes
- ● Most customers find 4' tubes easier to ship, store and install
- ● Many more options in terms of color temperature, lumen output and wattage
- ● The tubes are usually either Type B (ballast bypass) or Type C (external driver)
8' DLC Approved Tubes
Average rebate of $6.72 - 400 Utilities
- ● Continue to use 8' tubes in the fixture
- ● Tubes can either be Type A (plug and play), Type B (ballast bypass) or Type C (external driver)
- ● Type B and Type C tubes still require fixture rewiring
- ● Gives customers consistency with what they had
Since the DLC 8' category was introduced in April, there are now more than 5 times as many rebates available for these tubes than before. Most programs do not have 8' LED tubes in their prescriptive programs yet. In those cases you must use a custom rebate program which usually means lower rebates and a more difficult process. We expect 8' LED tubes to be more widely accepted in prescriptive programs starting in early 2019.
Which is the best choice?
As with many lighting projects, there is no clear cut answer as to which solution is best for a project. The example below shows a retailer who was considering upgrading their store. Without rebates, the payback for the project was pretty similar for both options. In this case, the rebates were double for the 4' option which offset the extra cost of the retrofit kit and made the payback 1 year better for that solution.
Have a project you’re working on?
BriteSwitch can help you see if there’s any rebate potential for your project and negotiate with the utility to see what kind of incentives may be available. Just contact us and we'll be able to help you out.