As a student at the University of Kansas I worked for the EADC - Energy Analysis and Diagnostic Center. This was a fantastic DOE-sponsored program (now called IAC) which employed college students to perform free energy audits of manufacturing plants and commercial office spaces and then provide them a report full of Energy Conservation Opportunities (ECOs.) One of our most common ECOs at that time was: replace existing T12 fluorescent lamps and magnetic ballasts with energy-saving T8 fluorescent lamps and new electronic ballasts. One of the added benefits of this upgrade was the elimination of "flicker." Though imperceptible to some, flicker can be quite problematic for sensitive individuals, causing headaches or even seizures. Flicker happens with the natural cycling of AC power, but with the higher frequency inherent in electronic ballasts, the fluorescent phosphors do not have time to dim, and therefore flicker is eliminated.
We had a handy tool that we could use to verify whether the existing ballasts were magnetic or electronic. It was a top, called a flicker checker. When you spin it under electronic ballasts, you see a series of concentric gray circles like in the first video below.
However, if the existing fixture had magnetic ballasts, the flicker checker displayed choppy squares instead of concentric circles, illustrated in the video below.
The thing is, this second video wasn't a top spinning under a fluorescent lamp with a magnetic ballast. It was spinning under a dimmed LED fixture! Once again we need to watch out for flicker in our lighting. The great news is that this time almost everyone is armed with their own personal flicker checker! No...maybe not a top. Pull out the camera on your phone and point it at the nearest LED source. If you see a series of bars or stripes on your display, the source is flickering. If not, then you have a high-quality LED with a compatible dimmer and/or driver.
Try it. Let us know what you find!
When Envision Lighting Design, LLC first became an ActOnEnergy Program Ally, we blogged about the great rebates available for replacing old T12 lamps. Today Ameren wants to remind its customers that the end of this great deal is near.
ActOnEnergy announces its next T12 bonus ramp-down will go into effect June 1, 2012. This ramp-down will permanently reduce the current 10% bonus to 5% on lighting projects that replace T12 lamps or fixtures. Once the incentive bonus amount is reduced, T12 replacement projects can never receive better incentives than what is currently being offered.
Take advantage of this last opportunity to get an additional 10% cash incentive for your replacement opportunities. There is still time left to submit and complete a project!
As always, If you want to know more about rebates available through the ActOnEnergy program, contact Envision Lighting Design!
Envision Lighting Design, LLC is now a registered Program Ally of the Ameren Illinois ActOnEnergy Efficiency Program! What does that mean? We've been through training so that we can navigate the energy incentives available to Ameren Illinois customers.
What a bargain! They want to GIVE YOU MONEY for doing the right thing in lighting, but some of the incentives are about to expire. New energy standards are phasing out production of some lamp types in the USA. As of July 2012, production of most T12 fluorescent lamps will end. If your facility still has T12 fluorescent lamps installed, you can receive a rebate from Ameren for each lamp you replace with a more efficient option! Of course, these rebates are about to be discontinued since production of the T12 lamp is being discontinued. If you complete your project by March 31, you will receive a $3-$7 per lamp rebate PLUS a 10% bonus PLUS an early completion coupon for a 10% bonus on your next project. Act now because all T12 rebates will end on May 31, 2012. Seriously, they are paying you to put in products that will save you money. This one is an obvious choice.
If you want to know more about rebates available through the ActOnEnergy program, contact Envision Lighting Design!
Lisa J. Reed, lighting designer and Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC