At Freesia Gardens we have 2 levels of basement car parking, originally lit by fluorescent tubes 24 x 7.
We actually delayed replacing the fluorescent tubes in the carpark for 2 years, waiting for the LED replacement tubes to become more reliable. At the same time as becoming more reliable, the LED tubes were also becoming cheaper.
Here are some tips on running a project to replace your carpark fluorescent tubes with LED tubes.
1) You will probably count your existing tubes up to 6 times before you get an accurate count. There are always extra tubes hidden behind ventilation systems etc
2) You need to replace the “tube holder” also called a batten if you are replacing an emergency fluorescent tube with a battery pack, with an LED tube.
3) You now need to replace all the battens if you wish to claim “energy saving certificates.” In the past, you could claim an energy saving certificate without replacing the batten. This makes it interesting as to whether it is actually worth replacing the battens and claiming the credits. We didn’t replace the battens.
4) Check the LED tubes to be the correct ones when they arrive. We wanted clear tubes with soft light, not tubes that look like opaque traditional fluorescent tubes. We had to send one batch back to the manufacturer and delay our installation.
5) To “optimize” the energy saving in your carpark you want a combination of LED tubes and “motion-detected” dimmable LED tubes. You need sufficient light in the carpark that people feel safe when they park their cars and walk to the lift. The best configuration is to use the dimmable LED tubes behind car parking spaces. They light up for about a minute when someone parks their car and gets out. Then they drop down to 1/4 strength light until someone comes back to get into the car.
6) You don’t want to install motion-detected LED tubes where they will be triggered by cars driving in and out of the carpark. To sustain the life of the motion-detected switch, you don’t want the motion detector being set off more than 8-10 times per day. You will have to run a test with a few motion-detected tubes first to determine the range of the motion detection.
7) It is likely that your sparky will have to return up to 5 times to finish the LED replacement job in two floors of basement carpark. You will have to assign someone to let him into your secure carpark on each day that he comes.
8) Do your LED fire escape lighting project as a separate project from your basement carpark LED lighting project. This will allow you to measure the impact of each project on your energy bill separately.
9) Get your sparky to teach you how to install a replacement LED tube yourself. It’s not hard, just slightly different from a fluorescent.
10) Print a diagram of your configuration of tubes for each level of basement carpark, laminate it and put it on the wall on the switch room. This will assist your maintenance person to replace the right tubes with the right tubes in the future.
11) Put a notice on your noticeboard to get everyone to empty the carpark. It isn’t possible to rewire a batten for LED when it is directly over the bonnet of a new BMW. If you are doing a different carpark level on different days, put the days which each person needs to move their car.
12) Don’t forget those additional fluorescent tubes in the switch room, store room or pump room. However, if you are maximising your savings you won’t replace these at all. Because they aren’t turned on 24×7, you can just leave them as old-school fluorescents.
13) Take photos of each fixture before and after, if you want to claim an energy saving certificate.
14) Your local council may take your old fluorescent tubes for recycling. You can’t put these in your normal garbage bin as they are bad for the environment.
15) Don’t buy the cheapest LED tubes on the market. Consider paying 3-4 times the cheapest price on offer to get a quality that you can rely on. Be really careful of the quality of the motion-detector switch. If this burns out in 3-6 months you won’t get return on investment.