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Frequently asked questions

CFL — What does this abbreviation mean?

Compact Fluorescent Lamp. For more information, see the Wikipedia article.

HID — What does this abbreviation mean?

High Intensity Discharge Lamp. These lamps are typically used for illuminating large areas. The most common types are mercury vapor (MV), metal halide (MH), and high-pressure sodium (HPS).

How can I tell whether I have a magnetic ballast or an electronic ballast?

While commercial test equipment is available for determining whether a magnetic ballast is in place, there is an inexpensive do-it-yourself test that can be done with your cell phone! Just point your cell phone camera at the lamp, and take … Continue reading

I’m concerned about the impact of night time lighting. Where do I learn more?

The Dark Skies Awareness web site has excellent material regarding the issue.

Recycling – what happens to my old bulbs and lighting?

As part of its retrofit project, New Energy Light Design arranges for your old lighting fixtures, ballasts and bulbs to be picked up by the appropriate commercial recycling organization for your area. We are proud to use AERC Recycling which … Continue reading

How do I safely clean up a broken bulb that contains mercury?

The Environmental Protection Agency has detailed instructions. The most important step is to first get out and air the room! Note that CFL’s, fluorescent tubes, high intensity discharge bulbs, neon bulbs, and other lamps may contain mercury. Please see this … Continue reading

What does the "8" in T8 mean?

The number 8 indicates that the tube diameter is 8 one-eight inches, meaning that this tube has a 1 inch diameter. A T12 tube has a diameter of  12/8, that is, 1.5 inch and a T5 tube is a very … Continue reading

Is it true that all incandescent light bulbs will be banned?

A national ban on the sale of incandescent light bulbs in the U.S. will take place in 2013. California will phase out their use by 2018. More details on this ban are provided in this Wikipedia article.

What is a lighting audit?

A lighting audit involves a walk-through of your facility to identify retrofit opportunities. The result is a worksheet that has a detailed profile of lighting energy use and lighting quality throughout your facility. This enables us, New Light Energy Design, … Continue reading

What is a lighting retrofit?

A lighting retrofit is the practice of replacing components of a lighting system, such as lamps and ballasts, with newer and/or more efficient components with the goal of reducing energy consumption and improving lighting conditions. A retrofit may include more … Continue reading

What are the four basic types of lighting?

Incandescent – the most common type of lighting in the home; the familiar light bulb Thomas Edison perfected as a practical, commercially viable lighting system. Fluorescent – used most commonly in commercial settings and which is much more efficient than … Continue reading

What is meant by an "instant start" ballast?

This is the most energy efficient type of ballast for fluorescent lights, but results in the least number of starts from a lamp. This ballast is the preferred choice for installations where lamps are not turned on and off very … Continue reading

What is the difference between a magnetic and electronic ballast?

An electronic ballast is a more advanced design which utilizes solid state circuitry to provide greater energy efficiency and less flicker. An electronic ballast, by increasing the frequency of current surging through the lamp from the line voltage 60 Hz … Continue reading

What is the the purpose of a lighting ballast?

Both fluorescent and HID lamps require a ballast to provide starting voltage and establish an arc (flow of energy) between lamp electrodes. Once that lamp is up and running, the ballast regulates the current and power. Ballasts vary in complexity, … Continue reading

What is meant by a “high power factor” ballast?

A high power ballast is one that delivers current to the fluorescent lamp in a more energy efficient manner than a lower power ballast. The technical nitty-gritty is that an arc discharge device such as a fluorescent lamp, electric welding … Continue reading

What is meant by a “program start” ballast?

A program start ballast is a specialized type of rapid start ballast that turns on fluorescent lights in a tightly controlled sequence of steps. This in turn provides a more gentle start-up that results in longer bulb life. This type … Continue reading

What are the tell-tale signs of obsolete lighting?

Any of the following should encourage you to get a free lighting audit: Flickering lights Buzzing noises Lighting color is unpleasant or mismatched Some areas are too dark / too bright Some areas have too much glare Can’t remember when … Continue reading

What is meant by a “rapid start” ballast?

A rapid start ballast is a type of fluorescent lamp ballast that provides superior lamp life and more cycle life than instant start ballasts, but uses slightly more energy than instant start. Rapid start ballasts, unlike instant start ballasts, can … Continue reading

What is meant by a “programmed start” ballast?

A programmed start ballast is an advanced type of rapid start ballast. This ballast gives the best life and most starts from lamps. Accordingly this is the preferred type of ballast for situations where lights are cycled off and back … Continue reading

When should fluorescent lights be turned off?

Fluorescent lights should be turned off whenever you’ll be away for 15 minutes or more according to the US Department of Energy.