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DHID (Digital HID) Vs.

FLUO; Just The Facts


Today, more than ever there is a need for Industry to be responsible in its environmental judgements and
actions. With the haste to improve the over-all environmental situation and push on Industry to reduce its carbon
footprint, it is important to educate yourself on the short term and long term ramifications of the “Green” solutions
you implement. In the case of lighting upgrades, there is a great opportunity to reduce corporation and
municipality electricity expenses and more importantly to reduce the electricity demanded from the energy
providers who are the greatest contributors of CO2 gases released into the environment. In selecting the lighting
solution, you want to ensure you investigate not only the short term purchasing costs, but also the long term
costs associated with waste; i.e. labour costs due to installation, maintenance/cleaning and light bulb
replacements; and lamp consumable cost expenses which are significant yet typically „hidden‟ or looked over
and purposely not highlighted in the selling process of fluorescent (FLUO) and LED based lighting products.

When considering the type of lighting for your new or retrofit high-bay or low-bay lighting application, it is
essential to be educated and made aware of what long term costs will be incurred over the lifetime of the lighting
system. One very important aspect to consider is the maintenance and labour costs associated with the cleaning
and the changing of lamps. Fluorescent and LED lighting systems have the problem that the light quality they
emit inherently degrades over the operating life of their lamps, increasing the lamp replacement frequency and
over-all expenses of operating those systems.

Comparing Digital Ballast powered High-Intensity Discharge lighting (Digital HID or DHID lighting) to fluorescent
and LED, end-users agree that the added value offered in terms of the DHID solution‟s low buying price, energy
efficiency, light quality/performance, and reduced labour and maintenance costs, ensures end-users benefit with
the best lighting for the shortest payback or return on investment time. Furthermore, when considering the
upgrade or retrofit of an existing inefficient lighting installation, one must consider the labour costs involved in the
installation; such as the removal of the old lighting system, re-wiring, changing of the lighting grid pattern, and all
the consumable costs and other indirect waste created as a result. In the case of the upgrade of an existing core
and coil (magnetic) powered ballast fixture, the DHID digital ballast solution is simple, cost-effective, outperforms
and is the most environmentally responsible.

It is wise to consider the long term costs associated with fluorescent lighting to truly appreciate the “realistic”
return on investment of fluorescent based lighting for factory/warehouse, retail, and general building high-bay
and low-bay lighting applications. The following facts about DHID lighting versus FLUO lighting serves to
highlight the performance and the common costs associated with the installation and operation of each in the
short and long term to help you accurately conclude your own realistic return on investment calculation.

Capabilities and Benefits of DHID Vs. FLUO

This is a direct comparison between both DHID and fluorescent lighting solutions for a 40ft high-bay ceiling
application where antiquated core and coil (magnetic) 1000W ballasts in existing HID fixture are already
installed.

The recommended Digital HID retrofit solution is a dimmable 575W DHID ballast powering a 750W Metal Halide
(MH) bulb. The proposed fluorescent high output high-bay T5 solution features 8 lamps at 54W each and 2 non-
dimming electronic ballasts.

Installation Complexity and Cost?

DHID: A simple „plug and play‟ retrofit of one digital ballast into the existing HID fixture and one new HID bulb
installed where needed. The existing fixture is re-used and the efficiency is significantly improved by 50% to
75%. The performance and light quality is also better offering 40% brighter, whiter, penetrating light over the old
system. The typical labour cost to retrofit a fixture is $50.00 US and takes approximately 30-45 minutes per
fixture. The typical total package cost to retrofit a 1000W magnetic ballast application is $250-$300 US including
the DHID 575W ballast, light bulb and installation cost.
FLUO: To install fluorescent you need to remove and recycle the used HID fixtures including ballasts, bulbs,
reflectors, wires and the exterior metal housings. You then need to create new hanging structures for the new
standard size fluorescent T5 8 Lamp high output fixtures. The lighting grid layout will need to also be changed as
more T5 fluorescent fixtures will be needed to ensure a uniform light coverage (overlap) at the floor between
them. In most cases, extra mid level or low-bay lighting needs to be installed where illumination from the
fluorescent high-bay is not significant enough. There are also costs associated with the assembly of the
individual fluorescent fixtures which is a labour cost the electrical contractor will invoice. With 8 bulbs and 2
ballasts, the complexity of a fluorescent system is high, adds cost and inhibits performance. The typical cost for
a fluorescent T5 8 lamp high output fixture is starting at $280 US or more and this cost does not include the
assembly/installation and the cost of the 8 lamps needed per fixture and for inventory.

Luminous Efficacy and Lumens Per Watt Performance?

DHID: Luminous efficacy of 118lm/W for digital ballast powered Metal Halide (MH), High-Pressure Sodium
(HPS) and Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH) HID bulb applications. If retrofitting an existing HID fixture which has an
antiquated 1000W core and coil (magnetic) ballast, a new 575W digital ballast would be installed in place
powering a 750W MH bulb for a new total fixture lumen output of 67,850lm (575W X 118lm/W).

FLUO: Luminous efficacy of approximately 81lm/W if 54W bulbs in a fluorescent T5 8 lamp high-output fixture
operating with 2 ballasts. If 54W bulbs offer a total lumen output of 4400lm output each, then 4400 X 8 lamps =
35,200 total lumen output from the T5 8 lamp high output fixture.

Ballast / Fixture Efficiency Performance?

DHID: One digital ballast is 97% efficient. For the existing magnetic 1000W MH, we retrofit the 575W DHID
ballast operating a 750W MH bulb at 592W with 3% losses. At 575 Watts, the DHID system will produce more
lumens at the ground than both the existing 1000W MH and fluorescent consideration. Moreover, the notable
increase in lumen output performance will bring the existing fixtures back to life, with more light at the ground,
and with more light over-laps between the fixtures for a brighter white facility and working area. Due to the
increase in the lumen output of the DHID ballast high-bay installation, 30% to 40% of the existing mid level
fluorescent lighting can be removed adding additional energy savings. And since the 575W DHID can be
dimmed, even more electricity savings are possible; e.g. instantly dimmed to 20%, the 575W ballast only
consumes approximately 474W yet still outputs bright penetrating light to the target.

FLUO: Two electronic ballasts are 90% efficient. Operating 54W x 8 bulbs = approximately 480W total with heat
losses. Due to the poorer lumen output of T5‟s, more fixtures should be added to the lighting grid to compensate
for the lower lumen output to the ground. The 2 ballast design and the accumulation of 8 bulbs creates 10%
losses to heat and increased wear on the bulbs leading to a more rapid degradation in light quality. The T5
fixture in this example does not have dim capabilities; to dim would add extra cost and complexity due to the
„special‟ dimming ballasts required. As a result of dimming fluorescent, there is also increased wear and tear on
the lamps adding to lamp change increases and ultimately increased labour and consumable costs in the short
and long term.

Light Quality Throughout Bulb Life?

DHID: Due to Digital HID‟s 118lm/W luminous efficacy performance, more lumens, and natural white bright light
penetrates to the facility floor. The light quality is guaranteed over the entire life of the bulb due to patented
digital ballast technologies. The bulb does not degrade more than 5% from the life start to life end of the bulb
creating huge benefits to retail, factory/warehouse or any applications where consistent bright white light is
mandatory. The DHID ballast increases the life of HID bulbs radically by 100% (or more if dimming is utilized). A
bulb with an original mean time before failure (MTBF) rating of 20,000 hours will now last 40,000 hours or more
and will suffer no less than 5% light degradation throughout the bulbs life. The high luminous efficacy of the
DHID ballast delivers brighter more penetrating lumens to the factory or retail application floor for less cost.
Compared to LED, fluorescent, and induction based lamp systems, DHID powered systems easily offer the best
light quality/performance for the lowest total operating/consumable costs.
FLUO: The fact is that all fluorescent lamps, be they hot cathode, cold cathode or electrode-less will suffer from
phosphor degradation. The rate of this degradation is a function of the type and the amount of phosphor, and the
type of glass used for the tube. The temperature of the phosphor and glass and the intensity of the UV flux from
the discharge also play a role in enhancing the degradation of a fluorescent bulb. High Output (HO) and Very
High Output (VHO) bulbs will normally degrade faster than standard output bulbs.

Most standard output fluorescent bulbs claim 10,000 hours to 20,000 hours or more operating lifetimes, but can
fall to 80% or less of their original light intensity after only 10,000 hours of operation. One must take into account
the long term costs of this realistic bulb degradation and failure in considering fluorescent for your lighting
application. If dimming ballasts are installed, please factor in this extra cost and also the increased cost of labour
and consumables due to increased lamp changes as dimming has an adverse effect on the life of the fluorescent
bulb, degrading it even quicker.

Fixture Noise, Static; Light Quality Psychological Impact?

DHID: The proven DHID ballast is silent, and operates warm as only 3% losses are to heat; the ballast is 97%
efficient and does not create significant static electricity. Pulse start MH bulbs are inexpensive and produce a
natural white light which is more pleasant to work under. Studies have shown that humans working in brighter,
more naturally lit environments are more alert and more productive.

FLUO: Some of the common nuisances end-users underscore about fluorescent lighting are the noise, the light
quality/flicker, the colour, and rapid light quality degradation by or before the bulb‟s mid-life and inevitably
thereafter. Fluorescent lighting fixtures require increased maintenance and cleaning due to the dust that collects
on the static charged surfaces of the system. The dust and debris accumulation on the bulb and on the reflector
surface is unhealthy and further adds to the degradation of light quality and total lumen output.

Lamp(s) and Ballast(s) Change Frequency?

DHID: Only 1 lamp needs to be replaced per HID fixture and with little labour cost/time needed as HID fixtures
are typically easy to maintain with easy access to the light bulb. HID bulbs operated with the DHID ballast are
rated to 30,000 hours to 40,000 hours or more life expectancy (with dimming) and the bulb lumen output is
guaranteed to not decrease more than 5% over the lifetime of the bulb. The DHID ballast will output 118lm/W
right up until the bulb‟s life end. The DHID ballast is rated to a 10 year MTBF and will output the same 118lm/W
up until its life-end. At ballasts life-end, it is again a very simple and cost-effective replacement to upgrade the
HID system without having to replace entire fixtures.

FLUO: 8 lamps per fixture need to be replaced and much more frequently than DHID which adds more labour
and maintenance costs. If mean time before failure of the fluorescent bulb is 20,000 hours then lamps need
replacement every 2 to 3 years. If the lamps are considered to be failed at 10,000 hours due to significant light
quality and brightness degradation, then lamp change frequency needs to be every 1 to 2 years. Since the 8
lamp fluorescent fixtures need two ballasts each, then at the ballasts life-end two ballasts need replacement. If
you factor in the labour costs to remove the old ballast and reinstall new ballasts, it becomes evident that a lot of
waste is created due to the limitations of the fluorescent lighting technology.

Long Term Realistic Bulb And Ballast Expenses?

DHID: Simple example: 1 bulb per existing fixture x 500 fixtures X $20 US approximate HID bulb cost for a 750W
Pulse Start Metal Halide bulb = 500 bulbs at $10,000.00 US total every 4-6yrs+. Very simple procedure, 1 lamp
to replace and it is easy to do in the existing fixtures since the bulbs are really easy to access. This decreases
the maintenance labour costs noticeably. The DHID ballast is rated to 10 years MTBF and is also easy and cost-
effective to replace at that time.
FLUO: 8 x T5 high output bulbs X 500 units = 4,000 bulbs. At an approximated bulb price of $5 USD X 4,000
bulbs the total bulb consumable costs alone is $20,000 US. If the bulb lasts 15,000 hours without significant
degradation, you would incur this expense every 2 years approximately. In addition, there will be increased
labour costs incurred to change 8 lamps per fixture. At the end of the ballasts life there will again be expenses
incurred to replace either the entire fixture (more waste), or to retrofit two new ballasts in the existing fixture.
Either option with fluorescent will result in inevitable labour and consumable expenses and environmental waste.

Motion Sensor Dimming Capabilities?

DHID: It is possible to dim Metal Halide, High-Pressure Sodium and Ceramic Metal Halide HID bulbs with DHID
digital ballasts. Dimming is simple and instant and it adds to the already sizeable savings in energy consumption
since the DHID ballast can dim the HID bulb from 100% power to 50% power or any step in between this range.
The dimming of a DHID ballast powered bulb is barely noticeable because the system still delivers high lumen
output in the dimmed state. With smart dimming, the electricity costs to operate the system are further reduced
without disrupting the operation or safety of the working environment. Motion sensors are strategically placed to
detect human and operator activity to determine lamp on times at full power.

In the case of a 575W DHID ballast powered HID bulb replacing a magnetic 1000W system drawing 1200W with
approximated heat losses, the end-user can expect 50% or more savings without dimming. The system can then
be dimmed down via motion sensor or switch by 20% to the 460W setting for the additional 20% in savings in
electricity (1200W - 592W - 118.4W = 489.6W / 1200W = 59%+ savings total).

With the advancement in the DHID technology over magnetic based HID systems, lamp start times are 1 minute,
dimming is instantaneous and start-up after a hot re-strike is 3 minutes. In most Industry applications, instant
dimming capabilities are preferred since HID lighting systems are typically installed in areas where the lights are
to be on for extended time periods. Where it is essential to have the lights on always, the dimming of a HID
system is ideal since lumen output is still high in the dimmed state, yet more electricity is saved since the lights
are only at full power when needed.

FLUO: Yes and No; it is possible to dim fluorescents, but you need special and expensive ballasts with this
capability for T5 fluorescent bulbs. This adds expense as you need two ballasts per each 8 lamp high-bay
fixture. Without dimming there is a great limit on electrical energy savings possible with fluorescent lighting. One
should also consider the original lumen output performance when considering the fluorescent solutions versus a
DHID retrofit solution since DHID offers a much higher output of lumens to the target, even in the dimmed state.
Secondly, one should consider the effect of dimming on the fluorescent bulb since increased dim-on and dim-off
cycles reduce the bulbs life. Fluorescent lighting was not originally designed for dimming, and is typically not
recommended due to the associated expenses, performance limitations and poor return on investment.

Return On Investment?

DHID: With DHID the short term return on investment payback is 0.5 years to 1 year for a total DHID retrofit
package including bulb, ballast and installation. In the long term, if utilizing an MH bulb with a MTBF of 30,000
hours to 40,000 hours+ with dimming, operated at 6,240 hours yearly, the bulb would need to be replaced every
4.8 years or 6.4 years+ with dimming respectively. At a bulb cost of $20 US, the total consumable cost is
miniscule over the lifetime of the system. The DHID ballast is rated at 10yrs MTBF with the potential to have its
life extended further depending on the application. With fewer bulbs and less frequent lamp changes,
maintenance/cleaning time is more infrequent making the money saved in labour and consumable expenses
over the system life noteworthy. The DHID solution guarantees high energy efficiency, and high-quality,
penetrating light over the entire lifetime of the bulb and the DHID ballast.
FLUO: The short term return on investment payback time is poor due to the initial cost of purchase and
installation; i.e. the labour to assemble the new T5 8 lamp fixtures; the removal of the used HID fixtures; the
install and wiring of the new T5 fixture; the installation of the 8 lamps and the accumulated costs of all the fixture
hardware and individual lamps for each fixture. Furthermore, in the short term one must factor in the costs of
how frequently the fixtures will require cleaning due to decreased light output as a result of dust accumulation. If
the T5 high output bulb is able to last 15,000 hours without noticeable degradation due to cleaning and efficient
bulb operation, then bulb change labour and consumable expenses will be frequent; every 2 years or less
making the return on investment of fluorescent over the long term (5 years or more) most unfavourable when
compared to the DHID retrofit solution.

The Environmentally Responsible Lighting Retrofit Solution

The DHID ballast retrofit solution is the most environmentally responsible and cost-effective upgrade for
inefficient lighting installations. By simply retrofitting the Digital HID ballast into an antiquated HID lamp system,
the old fixture is re-used and rejuvenated, bringing new life and a drastic improvement in performance to the HID
bulb based system. This simple procedure leaves only the magnetic ballast to be recycled (and bulb in
circumstances) and therefore creates much less strain on the environment. The DHID solution is able to reduce
Industry‟s carbon footprint, and the over-all CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere due to the measurable
amount of energy consumption reduced and physical and time waste reduced as a result of the DHID solution.

Digital HID lighting promises and delivers the optimal balance of energy efficiency, light quality/performance, and
reduced maintenance benefits for the shortest realistic return on investment payback time in the Industry. We
welcome the opportunity to discuss our findings with you further; please do not hesitate to contact me with any
questions.

Best regards,

Anthony (Tony) Borges


International Sales & Marketing Manager

Accendo Electronics Ltd.


9-160 Gibson Drive
Markham, ON. L3R 3K1 Canada
Cel: 905.875.6389
Tel: 905.475.2067
Fac: 905.470.0168
aborges@accendoelectronics.com
www.AccendoElectronics.com