Wednesday, August 22, 2018

LED retrofit - fluorescent light replacement tubes

What is an LED Fluorescent Light Retrofit?

The decision to change out your existing fluorescent lights should be an easy one.  You’ve been diligently maintaining your T5, T8, and/or T12 fluorescent tube lights for many years.  Whether those lights are high bay fluorescents, shop lights, or in-ceiling mounted troffer lights, you’ve finally come to the decision to do an LED retrofit project so you can take advantage of the many benefits LED fluorescent lights have to offer.  The energy savings alone should be enough for you to start the LED retrofit project, but when you consider the superior lighting levels and lower ongoing maintenance costs you’ll realize from the LED fluorescent tubes, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start this project years ago.
Now that you’ve made the decision to start the LED retrofit project, your next decision is which version of LED fluorescent tubes will you incorporate into your project: Plug and Play; Direct Wire; or a Hybrid approach.  Here is some additional information to help you understand the 3 approaches and some of the pros and cons of each:
  • Plug and Play: this solution provides a quick plug-in installation with the appropriate ballast and is compatible with most types of electronic ballasts.  This is the simplest way to reduce energy costs, but only if the current ballast is fully compatible with the LED replacement tubes.  If the ballast fails in this approach, you’ll be faced with the expense of changing out the ballast with a compatible replacement.
  • Direct Wire: this solution requires complete removal or bypass of the existing ballast as well as rewiring of the fixture to connect to in-line voltage.  This is by far the most energy efficient approach because it doesn’t require a power source controller (ballast) to operate.  It will likely require a licensed electrician to remove the old ballast and rewire the fixture to in-line voltage.  This is the most reliable of the 3 approaches and requires less ongoing maintenance because there are no ballasts to fail.
  • Hybrid approach: this solution can operate with or without a ballast; it can be connected to in-line voltage, and is the simplest installation of the 3 versions.  The hybrid fluorescent tubes are made to work with or without a ballast, but if they are installed in fixtures that do have a ballast and that ballast fails, the light will cease to work until the ballast is replaced or the fixture is rewired to bypass the ballast.
If you’d like to discuss your LED fluorescent tubes retrofit project, contact the expert lighting consultants at PKK Lighting in Madison, WI.  We’ll be happy to come out to your location to evaluate which approach would work best for your situation and to provide you with a quote for your project and the expected savings you’ll realize from the life of the project.
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Monday, July 23, 2018

Grocery Store Lighting – are LED lights right for you?

Brighten things up with Grocery Store Lighting

Are your customers excited about their trip to the store to shop for fruits, vegetables, meats and deli items, or are they just going through the motions?  If it’s the latter, then it might be time for you to evaluate your Grocery Store Lighting and upgrade to LED lighting, especially for your product displays.  LED lighting throughout your grocery store will dramatically improve the look and feel of your store and can improve the experience of your customers.
The old standard for grocery store lighting was row after row of fluorescents.  Fluorescents are expensive to operate, are aesthetically unattractive, and generally cast a light that is not flattering at all.
The new standard for grocery stores is LED lighting.  Due to their energy efficiency and improved color rendering capabilities, grocery store owners are “seeing the light” and are undertaking LED retrofit projects to upgrade their lighting solution.

Improve the look of your deli meat counter with LED lights

A 2017 study by University of Missouri, titled “Staying Fresh”, “shows that LED lighting can leave hamburger meat with more red color in deli cases longer than incandescent bulbs.”  The study looked at the effect of incandescent bulbs (which run hotter) on red meats as compared to cooler LED lights and found that the incandescent lights caused more discoloration than the LED lights.  The study showed that complete darkness was the best solution for meat retaining its’ red color, but that’s obviously not a solution that would work in a grocery store.  The next best solution was LED lights because LEDs produced little to no heat or UV light.  It should also be noted that certain LED lights with higher R9 color values can actually make the red meat appear more vibrant and attractive.

Produce and Floral Departments can also benefit from LED lights

The impact of LEDs can extend beyond the meat counter to the produce section and floral department.  The use of LEDs with a high Color Rendering Index (CRI) are excellent solutions for produce and floral displays as high CRI LED lights more accurately match natural sunlight without the damaging heat emitted by incandescent lights.

Freezer and Refrigeration Cases also benefit from LED Lights

LED lights are also a better alternative for your freezer and refrigerator cases, as the cold temperatures in these cases can cause light reduction for the fluorescent lights.  LED lights do not suffer from light reduction in cold temperatures due to their heatsink technology.
So what are you waiting for?  Contact the experienced LED lighting installation professionals at PKK Lighting in Madison, WI to discuss your grocery store lighting needs.  Take a look at some of our LED lighting projects to see some of the work we do.This post was originally published at

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Benefits of switching to LED Lighting for Businesses

PKK Lighting discusses the benefits of switching to LED Lighting for Businesses

One often overlooked area for making improvements to your business is making a switch to LED lighting.  PKK Lighting, an LED lighting installation company in Madison, WI, discusses 6 benefits your business will realize when you make the switch:
  1. Savings: probably the biggest reason businesses should switch to LED lighting is the reduction in expenses they will experience.  From reduced electricity costs each month, to reduced maintenance over the life of the fixtures, businesses will quickly realize a payback on their investment in new LED lighting.
  2. Lighting Control: with technology getting smarter each year, businesses have the ability to create a custom lighting solution that better meets their needs.  The use of occupancy sensors to turn lights on or off, integration with computers and smart phones, and timers for time of day and day of week, allows businesses to tailor their solution to meet the needs of their organization.
  3. Light Quality: LED lighting fixtures have evolved to the point that they can produce virtually any color and effect that you want to create.  From general purpose office lighting to specific lighting applications for different parts of your building, LED lights can provide unmatched versatility to your business as compared to your current lighting configuration.
  4. Energy Efficient: LED lights use substantially less energy than the older light fixtures they replace.  This will result in huge savings in your utility bills each and every month.
  5. Life span: LED lights last much longer than the older technology bulbs.  This will result in much lower maintenance costs going forward.
  6. Environmentally Responsible: LED bulbs do not contain mercury and so are safer for the environment.  PKK Lighting can properly recycle and dispose of your old light bulbs and fixtures.
If you want to evaluate the benefits of switching to LED lighting for your business, contact PKK Lighting and one of our expert lighting consultants will get in touch with you.
This post was originally published at

Friday, June 15, 2018

Lighting Installation Company discusses Church Lighting recommendations

Church Lighting recommendations from a Madison WI lighting installation company

Each business and organization has its’ own unique challenges when it comes to properly lighting their building and grounds. For people that are responsible for planning their Church lighting needs, it can be very involved with many inputs to consider. While the task can be daunting, approaching your Church lighting project with the help of a professional lighting installation company will make the project more successful. From the stage at the front of the church to the pews where your congregation sits, choosing the right lighting for your church can be a straight forward project.
We understand that budgets can be tight, but you don’t need expensive lasers and spotlights for your small church to look like a big church.  With LED lighting options, professional lighting can be very affordable.  Here are some pointers for your Wisconsin church lighting project:

Church Stage Lighting Recommendations

The front stage will be the focus of any church since that is where most of the activities are taking place, including sermons, wedding vows, baptisms, and more.  Drawing attention to the stage with proper lighting will help make it the focal point of your church.
  • Select lights that will serve multiple purposes.  For example, you’ll want stage lights that are directional that can be adjusted, if needed.
  • Are there parts of the stage or background that you want to highlight, like a stained glass window or religious symbol(s)?  Install appropriate LED lighting that will bring attention to different parts of the stage.
  • Create several layers of lighting for the stage. You’ll want rows of overhead lights that can be controlled from offstage so that the lighting can be dimmed or enhanced during a service or an event.
  • Spotlights that allow you to focus on the speaker with different intensities of light will create an enjoyable experience for the audience.

Congregation Seating Lighting Recommendations

The lighting for the church seating section has its own set of considerations. Because this area needs to have clear sightlines of the stage from every seat, here are a few tips to consider as you create your project plan for upgrading your church lighting solution:
  • Natural lighting: does your church have a lot of natural lighting that you can take advantage of for lighting the main seating area?  If so, you may not need as much artificial lighting and can keep your costs down.
  • Reading lighting: keep in mind that members of your congregation will be reading during your sermons and ceremonies, whether it’s pamphlets, hymnals, or other materials.  You’ll need to make sure there is enough lighting throughout the seating area for everyone to be able to read comfortably and not have to strain their eyes.
  • Dimmable lighting: being able to control the intensity of the seating area lights will allow you to set the mood for your sermons and other events.
When you’re planning your church lighting project, contact PKK Lighting in Madison, WI, a professional lighting installation company for over 40 years.  We’ve worked with many churches on their lighting projects and we’ll be happy to work with you.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

How do I recycle fluorescent tube lights and other electronic waste near Madison WI?

PKK Lighting can recycle your fluorescent tube lights and electronic waste

Do you have a pile of fluorescent tube lights and other electronic waste sitting at your Wisconsin facility that you are ready to recycle?  Have you recently completed an LED lighting retrofit project and have old light fixtures and bulbs that you need to dispose of?  PKK Lighting will be happy to help with your light bulb recycling and properly dispose of these hazardous materials and keep them out of our landfills.
The lighting industry understands the potential impact of these spent materials and has developed recycling procedures that allow us to recycle almost 100% of every component in a lighting system.  From light bulbs (incandescent, fluorescent, tubes, LED), to ballasts, to light fixtures, we can help you legally dispose of and recycle these materials.
PKK offers pick up services for your recycled light bulbs and electronic waste.  We routinely travel throughout much of south-central Wisconsin (Dane, Green, Columbia, Sauk, Jefferson, Rock, and Iowa counties) during our lighting maintenance trips and we periodically travel to other parts of Wisconsin and northern Illinois.  Fill out our Recycled Materials Pick-up form and we will contact you to schedule a time to pick up your light bulbs and electronic waste.
PKK Lighting will help you recycle the following materials:
  • Fluorescent tube lights
  • Incandescent light bulbs of all kinds
  • LED lights and fixtures
  • Ballasts and capacitors (both PCB and non-PCB)
  • Batteries of all types except automotive (alkaline, lithium, niCad, lead-acid, button type)
  • Electronic waste including cell phones, computers, televisions, telephones, circuit boards, etc.
  • Mercury containing devices, including thermostats and thermometers
Contact PKK Lighting to schedule a time for us to pick up your fluorescent lights, bulbs, fixtures and electronic waste.
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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Is it time to replace your Parking Lot lights?

What to know when replacing your Parking Lot Lights

In Wisconsin, where it seems to get dark at 4pm for half the year, keeping the parking lot lights on is critical for the safety of your employees, customers, or residents.  Dark parking lots due to burnt out lights or uneven coverage can lead to an increase in vandalism, additional vehicle accidents, and other dangerous situations. Not to mention the negative message it sends about your organization and your apparent neglect of such an important area.
High-intensity discharge (HID) fixtures have traditionally been the choice for parking lot lighting.  These high powered fixtures provide low-grade light, consume a large amount of electricity, are expensive to maintain, and are generally unpleasant to the eye.  As these HID fixtures continue to age, they become even more inefficient to own and operate.  Over the last decade, parking lot owners have started to “see the light” and are changing out these inefficient HID fixtures with high-efficiency LED parking lot light fixtures.
Is it time for you to consider an LED parking lot lighting retrofit project?  Here are 6 signs that it’s time to replace your parking lot lights:
  1. Burnt out lights: are your parking lot lights burning out frequently?  Dispatching a utility truck with a lift and a work crew is expensive, so if you find that your lights need frequent replacement, it’s time to consider replacing your current lights with LED parking lot pole lights that have an average life span of 50,000 hours (over 10 years).
  2. Uneven coverage – patches of darkness: have you taken a drive around your parking lot late at night to see if the light is evenly dispersed?  With today’s LED technology, we are able to create a lighting pattern that will adequately cover the entire lot without spilling light over to neighboring properties.
  3. High energy costs: HID fixtures and bulbs are expensive to operate.  Replacing them with high-efficiency LED lights can cut your utility cost by upwards of 50-75% and can result in a pay-back period for the LED upgrade of less than 5 years.
  4. Increases in crime/vandalism: As the parking lot owner you have a responsibility to protect (as best you can) the people who use your lot.  Dark areas in your lot due to burnt out lights or uneven coverage just invites vandalism and increases the likelihood that something bad could happen.  Don’t wait until it’s too late – consider an upgrade to LED lights today.
  5. High maintenance: as the HID fixtures continue to age, they require additional maintenance and repairs to keep them operational.  When you combine the cost of maintenance, replacement bulbs, and high energy costs, the decision to change over to LED fixtures becomes much easier to make.
  6. Eco-friendly alternative: LED lighting is a much more Eco-friendly option for your parking lot lights.  LED lights do not contain mercury, emit UV rays, and generate less light pollution than their HID counterparts.
At PKK Lighting, we can help your company evaluate your current parking lot lighting solution, the total costs of ownership (including the fixtures, electricity, maintenance, and repairs), and provide you with our recommendations and pricing options.
This post was originally published at

Monday, March 12, 2018

Remember Emergency Exit Lights during your LED Retrofit Project

LED Retrofit Project – don’t forget Emergency Lighting

If your company or organization is planning an LED Retrofit project to upgrade your lighting, you’ll need to insure that you consider emergency exit lights as part of your project.  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established requirements that all commercial buildings must have clear exit routes from any point within the building to a place of safety.  OSHA acknowledges and accepts the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) emergency exit lighting requirements as to levels of illumination and that the emergency lights must work for a minimum of 90 minutes in the event that normal power is interrupted.
The types of commercial buildings that need to have Emergency Lighting include any facility that allows the general public (e.g., Churches; Retail stores; Hospitals; Sport complexes), employees (e.g., factories; office buildings), or specific use buildings (e.g., apartment complexes).
As the building owner, you have four options for generating the backup power to keep the lights on:
  1. Emergency Power Generator
  2. Emergency Inverter
  3. Designated Emergency Lights
  4. Individual Emergency Backup Drivers
Emergency Power Generator: Generators are normally powered by natural gas, propane, or diesel fuel. The generator powers a motor that generates electricity for critical operations, like emergency lighting. Generators can be expensive (several thousand dollars), but can keep your building operational for several days, if needed.
Emergency Inverter: if you only need the emergency lights to work for a shorter period of time, you could use an emergency inverter, which is essentially a giant battery.  The inverter gets charged from the main power supply and becomes operational when the main power supply fails.  The inverter can power large sections of emergency lighting and many can handle LED lights.  Inverters can handle both interior and exterior emergency lighting.  Because inverters are powered by a battery, their lives are short, typically 90 minutes.
Emergency Lights: many companies install traditional emergency lighting, which consist of light fixtures with built-in batteries.  The fixtures are powered by the main power supply (when the power is on) and via the batteries when the power supply is interrupted.  Similar to inverters, 90 minutes is the average limit these fixtures will work when the power is out.  These lights have a smaller upfront cost as compared to purchasing a generator or Inverter, but will still meet OSHA and NFPA requirements.
Emergency Backup Drivers: the final option for providing power to your emergency lights are backup drivers or emergency ballasts. Note that these are specifically made for lights that already have a driver to regulate their power supply, so they won’t work for every application.  The emergency backup drivers/ballasts have a battery that powers the light when the main power supply goes out.
OSHA has provided a handy checklist so you can evaluate if your building complies with the NFPA Emergency Illumination Standards.
Contact the experienced lighting installation team at PKK Lighting and we can discuss your LED Retrofit project, emergency lighting needs and potential options.
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LED retrofit - fluorescent light replacement tubes

What is an LED Fluorescent Light Retrofit? The decision to change out your existing fluorescent lights should be an easy one.  You’ve been...