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Life cycle cost analysis of LED retrofit and luminaire replacements for four-foot T8 troffers

CSS Publication Number
Full Publication Date
November 10, 2023

Lighting makes up 17% of electrical loads and the largest energy end use in commercial buildings. Linear fixtures are among the largest opportunities for energy efficiency improvement, given their long operating hours. With continued, rapid light-emitting diode (LED) development and more LED replacement products on the market, lighting replacement decisions become more complex and warrant re-examination. With a goal to inform building managers and other decision-makers with practical guidance on lighting replacement, this study is a life cycle cost (LCC) analysis that compares the cost–benefit of six replacement options (one fluorescent and five LED) for a 0.61 m by 1.22 m (2 ft by 4 ft) T8 recessed troffer based on data for 168 lighting products from an online vendor. Results show that direct wire (i.e. unballasted) LED retrofits are the least-cost option to replacing fluorescent lamps in terms of normalized LCC. Plug-and-play lamps suffer from a lock-in with ballasts, but their ease of installation can help spur LED adoption. In cases where an existing ballast is still usable, hybrid LED retrofits provide the least upfront cost option by deferring the cost of rewiring. LED luminaires can offer improved aesthetics and reliability; however, they have high upfront cost. Among them, luminaires with replaceable lamps offer lower cost than those without.

Research Areas
Energy Systems

Life cycle cost analysis, LED retrofit, Energy efficiency

Publication Type
Journal Article
Full Citation

Liu L, Keoleian G, Lewis G. Life cycle cost analysis of LED retrofit and luminaire replacements for four-foot T8 troffers. Lighting Research & Technology. 2023;0(0). CSS23-25