Post Top Retrofits – Why Should You Do It?
There are millions of post post lights out there and most of them are still the old energy-gulping technologies like HID metal halide, high or low pressure sodium, or mercury vapor. These types of lamp systems are decades old and at this point, outdated. On top of using tons of energy, you need to change the bulbs out frequently, you don’t get consistent color out of each lamp (color shift), and the quality of light they put out is pretty bad, among other non-ideal characteristics.
We’ve listed the top reasons below why performing a post top retrofit to LED is beneficial, as well as what to watch out for when finding the best lamps to use.
1. Energy Savings
The secret is out about LED and it’s known that LED is taking over the lighting industry by storm. The technology continues to impress as costs have come down and energy efficiency has taken a huge leap forward, even just in the last few years. It seems to be leveling out a little bit, but the results are impressive.
When you retrofit to new LED post top lamps, the typical energy savings is 70% or more, all while keeping the same brightness or creating more light than what you have now. This can be seen directly on your energy bill as the wattage drops dramatically.
So when you look for a correct LED retrofit lamp, multiple your existing HID wattage by about .3, and you’ll get close to the new LED post top lamp wattage you need.
Example: You have a 150 watt metal halide post top fixture and are looking to save energy. 150*.3 = 45 Watts in LED, so you can start in this range. It depends on some other factors like lumens/watt, but we can dig into that down below.
2. Longevity and Lowered Maintenance Costs
The new LED corn retrofit lamps for post tops are rated to last over 50,000+ operating hours, which at 12 hours per night on average (year round) equates to about 11.41 years! Old technology only lasts a year or two, making you pay more for the relamp or maintenance contract you have through more bulbs, labor, lift rentals, trip charges, and other costs that go into it.
3. Light Quality
Old technology such as metal halide or high pressure sodium has a low CRI, or what’s known as Color Rendering Index. Basically in the lighting industry this is the measurement of how good the light quality is as perceived by the human eye. It’s on a scale from 0 to 100 (100 being closest to natural color or the Sun). Old metal halide technology wasn’t bad at the 60-65 range, but the new standards in LED are now up to 80+ for the post top retrofit lamps.
What does this mean? It means that the light appears crisper, brighter, and shows colors better, no matter what application the retrofit lamps are installed in.
4. Maintained Brightness
The old HID systems are impressive out of the gate, with metal halide and the other old technologies emitting over 100 lumens per watt when you first screw the bulb in. The issue however, is that quickly you have what’s called lumen deprecation, which means that the gases inside the lamp start to burn up, and over time stop emitting the same initial light.
In the real world, this means that the longer the HID lamp is plugged in, the less light it puts out. This is why the lamps look pretty dim after even 1.5-2 years before burnout. LED solves for this, with the lumen maintenance (there is some loss) being much more gradual and not as an issue. This means you’ll still be within 85-90% of the initial light output even after 5-7 years of operation.
In most areas throughout the USA, LED now qualifies for very large rebates when you do a post top LED retrofit, sometimes upwards of 50% of the product cost or more! The key is to make sure the product is on the DLC QPL qualified list, as most utility companies require this.
DLC has been a great way to standardize the rebate market throughout the USA, and continually updates their strict technology requires to make sure the LED products will be high quality. At this point it means at least a 5 year warranty, and 110+ lumens per watt on the LED post top retrofit lamps, so you’ll want to make sure the product you choose has these attributes at a minimum.
If you have any questions about retrofitting your post top light fixtures, feel free to contact us!