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A customer with an automotive service center in Texas called with a question about his lighting. The fourteen lights in his service center were dated, inefficient 8-foot T12 lamps. Unfortunately, but common for facilities with T12 fluorescents, many of the lamps were not lighting up. Those that were functional required constant maintenance and replacement; the high ceilings made this maintenance a hassle. Something had to change.

The customer knew he wanted to go with LED replacements but wasn’t sure which ones to choose. He discussed his project with an Access Fixtures lighting specialist, saying that his objective was less about saving energy and more about reducing labor; he wanted to spend less time fixing lights and more time fixing cars.

Best Practice When Replacing Old Lighting with LED High Bay Lighting


LED high bay lights installed in a Texas automotive shop.

Typically, when Access Fixtures replaces an antiquated lighting system like this one, we try to replace each fixture on a one-for-one basis. Replacing fixtures on a one-for-one basis is more efficient for the end user and reduces facility downtime. Another advantage is that it keeps the light evenly distributed throughout the facility. However, this project introduced a unique problem.

Whoever designed the layout for the automotive service center decided to put some of the luminaires on the ceiling and some on the walls. This made it possible for technicians to lean under hoods, over motors, and around sides of cars without having to deal with inconvenient shadows. This solution worked well with the T12 fluorescents, but it wasn’t possible to mount the LED fixtures on the walls. We had to explore some other options.

Option #1: Using LED Vapor Tight Linear Luminaires to Illuminate the Texas Automotive Repair Shop

The first option was a series of 42w 4-Foot Linear LED Vapor Proof Luminaires. Two of these 4’ LED vapor tight linear luminaires would be able to match the form factor (size) of the T12 fluorescents. The customer could have used the 4’ LED vapor tight linear luminaires on the walls and ceilings, as they mount directly to any surface and do not hang by chains. These fixtures were a simple solution—their lenses and internals were standard, so there was no need to sort through a list of customizable options and accessories. The 4-foot LED vapor proof luminaires boast a CRI of 83, which meant clearer, whiter light with better color rendering than the T12 fluorescents. The 4’ LED vapor tight linear luminaire would also reduce energy use by over 55%.

Option #2: Using Exterior-Grade LED Bracket-Mount Luminaires to Light the Repair Shop

This one-for-one solution utilized a special LED bracket mount to attach the fixtures to walls and ceilings. The customer could have replaced each 8’ fluorescent fixture with one of these LED luminaires. The bracket mounts directly to the wall or ceiling and makes it easy to adjust the direction of the luminaire. The lens and mounting bracket would come with the luminaires. Similar to the first option, these luminaires provide a CRI of 80 and much whiter light than was being offered by the T12 fluorescents. These fixtures would emit the same amount of light as the T12s, but would direct the light down and out (comparatively, send the light in all directions). The customer would again see an energy reduction of about 55%.

Going Back to a More Basic Solution: LED High Bay Fixtures


LED high bay lights installed in a Texas automotive shop.

While both solutions offered huge energy savings, superior light, and the virtual elimination of maintenance, we wondered if there was an even better solution available. With so many LED high bay luminaires at our fingertips, we knew we could do better for the customer. How much more could we increase this customer’s light? Could we reduce the number of fixtures? Would it be possible to use fewer high bay luminaires and mount them only on the ceiling? Put simply: Yes.

Enter the Access Fixtures 138w LED Omega High Bay 120v-277v. This fixture features extreme energy efficiency and performance and provides a superior lighting solution for commercial and industrial spaces.

The Irrefutable Answer: LED High Bay Fixtures

The 138w high bay emits 14,000 lumens and evenly distributes light over a broad area. With these fixtures, the automotive repair shop could replace each 8′ fluorescent fixture on the ceiling via chain mounts; the tremendous light emitted would omit the need for fixtures on the walls. However, if the customer wanted to keep some wall luminaires, these high bays could easily be direct-mounted. This solution was by far the most cost-effective solution as well. In other words: It was a no-brainer.

Supporting a Lighting Decision with Facts

Each of the customer’s T12 fixtures emits 7,900 lumens. Combined, the 14 fluorescent fixtures were able to emit 110,600 lumens and offer a CRI of 60. Comparatively, each of the 138w LED high bays we recommended would emit 14,684 lumens. Nine 138w LED high bay luminaires would emit 132,156 lumens of directed, 80+ CRI, 5000K light. Assuming all of the T12s were actually functional (they weren’t), the LED solution would still emit 17% more light. The new LED package would reduce wattage by over 53%.

In summary, the 138w LED high bays provided better quality light, even distribution, low initial costs, affordable energy costs, and—most important for this customer—little to no maintenance for the foreseeable future.