If you look up, you will find T5 fluorescent tubes and T5 High bays in thousands of warehouses, logistics centers, and manufacturing plants throughout the country. There was a period of time where T5 fluorescent lights were THE go-to for new construction, and also replacement of HID high bays, a lot of which was driven by utility companies encouraging customers to use less electricity. A T5 fluorescent tube will emit adequate lighting levels for a much longer time than a metal halide or other HID bulb, but the reduction in energy isn’t nearly as severe as you might think. Operations and facility managers certainly saved a lot of time and money on maintenance and replacement, but the actual energy cost savings still leave a lot of room for improvement. Typically an HID using a total of 450 watts would be replaced with a T5 using 354 watts. A decent drop, but a 150w or less LED would produce the same light output, and for a significantly longer time. That means that there is an additional 60% energy savings that could be realized by replacing T5 high bays with new LEDs. 


So let’s say you want to capture that additional savings, what are the options? 


T5 LED tubes, or install a new LED fixture.

One of the first steps, when you want to replace a T5 High bay with LED, is whether to replace the T5 fluorescent tubes with T5 LED tubes, or install a new LED fixture. Replacing single tubes can be less expensive, but that isn’t always the case, especially if your energy provider is offering incentives for converting to LED high bays. Each T5 tube may have a $2-$6 rebate, where a new fixture could be eligible for a $50-$100 rebate, so the net cost may be very close. 


Matching levels of light output.

The other thing you’ll want to make sure of, if you’re thinking of using the tube only replacement method, is that you get matching levels of light output. You may find that watt for watt, you don’t get the same foot candle readings at measuring height with a T5 replacement tube. If you go the new fixture route, which is what most people do, and what we most often recommend, you will need to decide which type of high bay is best, as not all high bays are the same. Fluorescent fixtures do well in hot dusty conditions, but not all LEDs do, so you’ll want to consider the environment that you’re putting them in when selecting the type of LED fixture you want to use. There are a variety of temperature and IP ratings available. There are LED high bay options with lenses that cover the diodes, some of which will keep bugs out, and others that won’t. Maybe you don’t need a lens at all, though. If the lights are 30 feet in the air, having exposed diodes isn’t nearly as noticeable as if they were in your office, 5 feet above your head. 



While not specific to high bays, the warranty is also something to consider. Is it worth more to get a fixture that will last longer and be covered for 10 years instead of 5? Are warranties of the products you’re comparing really the same? Make sure you know the details of what “limited” means, if you have a limited warranty. 


LEDs are very efficient, and thanks to available rebates, affordable products that provide years of cost-saving and excellent use. If you have any questions or would like to see the benefit of LEDs for yourself, please give us a call at (317)-759-4533 or send us an email at info@ledindy.com.


Work cited