Monday, November 19, 2012

Replacing Old Fluorescent Tube With Energy-Efficient T5 Retrofit

What is T5? 
T5 is the fluorescent light tube that is 5/8 of an inch in diameter, comparing to the commonly used T8 fluorescent tube that is one inch in diameter. T5 is an increasingly popular development in fluorescent lighting. The "T" in lamp nomenclature represents the shape of the lamp-tubular. The number following the "T" represents the diameter of the lamp in eighths of an inch.
Advantages of T5.
  1. Lower power consumption. T5 consumes 28 watts, whereas T8 tube typically consumes 40 watts to 46 watts ( tube = 36 watts, ballast = 4 watts to 10 watts).
  2. Longer lifespan. T5 rated 20,000 hours and T8 only rated 8,000 hours.
  3. High power factor > 0.95. T8 has power factor of < 0.50.
  4. Lower mercury content, only 1/3 of the conventional T8.
  5. Instant starting and no flickering.
  6. Quiet operation without any humming noise.
  7. Cooler temperature, reducing load on air conditioning system.
  8. Lower light output degradation over time.
T5 retrofit.

T5 retrofit is designed to directly plug into the existing T8 fixture, without the need of any re-work. This makes T5 retrofit an ideal replacement of existing T8. The retrofitting procedure is as follows.

   (1) Remove T8 tube.         (2) Remove starter.          (3) Install T5 retrofit.             (4) Done.


In Sabah, T8 fluorescent tubes are still widely used in residential and commercial buildings. Lets assume replacing 100,000 pieces of T8 with T5 retrofit that running 12 hours daily, every year we could save,
  1. Save about 6,000 MWh of electricity.
  2. Save about RM2 millions of electricity bill.
  3. Reduce about 4,100 tons of carbon dioxide.
Operating 24 hours a day, the retrofit could pay back itself in less than a year with the saved electricity bill.
There are a lot of T5 products in the market. Some of them claimed to only consumed 22 watts or even 20 watts, and much cheaper price. But most likely they are sacrificing the output performance with only able to produce less than 2,000 lumens at the given wattage. A good 4 feet T5 fluorescent tube should be able to produce more than 2,500 lumens of light at 28 watts or less.
When shopping for T5 or T5 retrofit, please be caution and always good to shop around and compare.

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