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400w to t5 light replacement

the google

i'm getting set up in a new shop and was advised to look into this. right now, the new space as seven, equally spaced 400w high bay (high-output) lights over 5500 sf. these fixtures, apparently, are significant contributors to our electric bill.

We've got an opportunity to switch them out and i would like to get it done asap. can we do these as an even swap (figuring a four bulb, t5 fixture), or would we need more t5's to create light equal to these 400w fixtures? also, what t5 bulbs would give us the best (most natural light)?

thanks in advance.

2/16/15       #2: 400w to t5 light replacement ...
Rich Kuban Member

Lighting is a bit more complicated. Wattage is only an indicator of energy consumed. Considerations include lumens, beam spread, color, color rendering, energy use, and replacement costs. As one gets older, brighter lighting is necessary.

If you want to do it right once, consult an industrial lighting expert. But DO NOT rely on an electrician to guide you, they will recommend what they do most often, is easier, and more profitable to them.

Sorry to not be of more help!

2/16/15       #3: 400w to t5 light replacement ...
David R Sochar Member

Rich is right - it gets complicated, and is not an absolute.

One resource could be your local power company. These guys over the years have had to go from hoping you buy all electric heat for your house and shops, to helping people get the most bang for their electric buck. Soft-start motors consults, lighting comparisons and energy audits are all things my local utility monopoly does.

I have used 4' fluorescents, 8' fluorescents, high bay quartz, low bay quartz, back to 4' fluorescents, and a recent change to t5 bulbs. The quartz high outputs were the worst. The t5 light is much better and we can control the color range easier (part of what gets complicated). And they use less energy.

I did come up with a cost of $1,000 per 1,000 s/f figure to buy and install at the proper illumination level I wanted (aging eyes....) - if that helps any.

2/16/15       #4: 400w to t5 light replacement ...
Jesse Fast Member

Website: http://countrysidecabinetshop.net

Have you considered LED? We just built a new facility and went with 100% LED. The initial investment is definitely more but in the long run they will pay for themselves.

I agree- bypass your local electrician when it comes to fixtures. I was shocked how little they knew. I found I knew substantially more than them just by doing moderate research.

I also recommend going directly to an industrial supplier. I used Graybar and worked with knowledgeable staff there. They used a CAD lighting program (Visual) to determine the correct amount of fixtures in order the reach the desired lumens.

I have attached a layout from part of our shop.

Good luck and don't be afraid to embrace the LED technology!

Click the link below to download the file included with this post.


2/16/15       #5: 400w to t5 light replacement ...
the google

thanks for the replies.

the building is a rental so i don't want to put forth extra funds unless i can see a payback pretty quickly. our electric company has a rebate program for the conversion and i've already got a lift and an electrician at my disposal.

i saw some quick stuff online that suggest the consumption is essentially half for t5's vs. 400w high bays. combine this with the rebate and it looks like i could achieve a pretty quick (3 years) payback. of course, this is figuring a 1:1 swap out so the math will be considerably different if i would need to install more t5's to make up the same lighting.

2/16/15       #6: 400w to t5 light replacement ...

t-5 with color bal to 6500 kelvin daylight bulbs. Don't think in terms of the same amount of fixtures, we have made the change and it was about 1 1/2 times the fixtures.

2/16/15       #7: 400w to t5 light replacement ...
Jerry Cunningham

Website: http://www.thewoodlandmills.com

Have you tried www.e-conolight.com? Very nice fixtures and the best pricing around. They even have a layout tool where you can enter your shop dimensions and your desired lighting level and they'll tell you the number of fixtures you need and spacing.

For 5500sf just 12 400w fixtures seems like you'd have very low lighting levels.

I just ordered 30 4 lamp T5 (low bay white reflectors) for an area that's 80x70.

I personally prefer 5000K color temp bulbs.....they are almost pure white. The 6500K is supposed to be natural daylight spectrum, but they come off looking a light blue and I found that annoying.

If you stick with a 1 for 1 replacement consider an 8 lamp T5 fixture.


2/16/15       #8: 400w to t5 light replacement ...

Hopefully the local electric utility folks will be able to assist in a design. I say that with caution. A few years ago the local power company offered a free energy analysis of my 5600 sqft building. The power company guy brought along private contractors for the survey (two different dates).

The electric contractor guy was not too enthused about giving me any details about what I already had and what he suggested we change. I had purchased the building about a year or two prior and had no maintenance history records. He had a nifty little point and shoot device that could tell what type of fluorescent fixtures I had (13-15 foot ceilings). He checked a couple. I had already replaced some old broken ones with newer technology. But, he would not tell me which other ones would need replacing. He wanted the job to replace everything. The survey results were a bid for replacement. No details.

The insulation guy, again brought in by the power company, suggested added spray foam insulation on top of our vinyl covered fiberglass. We have a metal building. I asked what could be done with one of our uninsulated roll-up doors that faced the setting west sun (very, very hot in the summer). His suggestion was to spray over the door. And, if I ever decided to use the door again, he said it would be a simple matter of cutting the insulation off the roll-up door. YEAH, RIGHT!!!

Needless to say I did not use either of those two contractors. I essentially learned next to nothing from the power company surveys. We are serviced by a small power company, so they may not have the expertise on board for commercial evaluations. I think that this company was better prepared to perform residential surveys. Oh, well.

The morale of the story is two-fold: Do your own research, and find someone who really knows what they are doing and can show you how they got to their design for your building.

Best of luck in lowering your energy costs.

2/16/15       #9: 400w to t5 light replacement ...
Mark Elliott Member

I just went through a one to one replacement of 400 W Metal Halide fixtures with 4 bulb high bay T-5's and it is much brighter.

The fixtures were a little under a $150 ea. and the utility company gave me a $60 per fixture rebate.

33 fixtures in about 17K of mfg. space.

Hope this helps.

2/16/15       #10: 400w to t5 light replacement ...
the google


good stuff. just to clarify - the t5's are brighter? what's your ceiling height?

2/16/15       #11: 400w to t5 light replacement ...
Leo G

Swapping out 400W Mercury Vapor lamps for T5HO's will give you a much better light quality, but it won't give you much in electrical savings.

I had it worse, I had Sodium Vapor lamps which are very efficient, the color on the other hand stinks. I used a 6 lamp T5HO and it wasn't even close to the light output of the SV lamps.

2/17/15       #12: 400w to t5 light replacement ...
Mark Elliott Member


I have an 18' ceiling height and used the 6500K lamps.

Among the problems that metal halide lamps have is that their output fades over the life span of the bulb and you're not getting as much light out of them

The bottom line for me was I swapped out 400W metal halide for 4 54W HO tubes and there is energy savings along with a much brighter work area.



2/19/15       #13: 400w to t5 light replacement ...

We recently went through this because most of the shop had T12, 8' twin tube lighting, long continuous rows @ 10' spacing. The solid wood/molding area had 400W metal halide. Fixtures @ about 16'. The metal H were replaced 1 to 1 with 6 tube T8, 4', much better light. Mark is right about the dimming of the MH lamps. The reason for the T8's as opposed to T5s was the rest of the shop's T12 conversion. We just replaced the ballasts, lamp holders and reflector covers w/o having to hang new fixtures. They came as a kit through our electrical supply company. A total of 564 new T8 lamps were installed. Local utility gave $3500 in rebate. We rented a lift and did most of the work over the Xmas holiday.The lighting is better in all areas and we only have to stock one kind of lamp. The utility gives rebates based on energy savings.

2/20/15       #14: 400w to t5 light replacement ...
Evan Member

Depending on your region, make sure you research the incentives that are available. We got our entire 3,500 sqft space converted from T12 to T8, plus reflector hoods for a couple hundred dollars. Anywhere we don't need high fixtures, they lowered the fixtures over workbenches and machines to focus the light. Heckuva deal.

2/20/15       #15: 400w to t5 light replacement ...
Mark Elliott Member

I need to go back and make a correction on my earlier count.

I replaced and got the rebate for 33 MH lights, but ended up installing 45 T-5 fixtures. I took down some T-12's that I didn't get a credit on, so it took 45 fixtures to light 17K of space.


3/8/15       #16: 400w to t5 light replacement ...
David Waldmann  Member

Website: http://vermonthardwoods.com

I would definitely look at LED. I recently was going to buy some new ballasts to replace some T8 ones that were out, and one of my employees suggested LED. My immediate response was that the tube-type LEDs had a way to go. But then I decided to take a look, as it had been at least a year since I last looked, and technology moves fast.

I ended up buying a small trial pack of 4' T8 replacements LEDs. They use 18w each and subjectively put out about as much as (2) 32w T8s. They are quickly and easily retrofitted into existing T8 fixtures, and cost less per tube than the ballast that I would have had to buy to get the lights working again. They use 1/3 the power and are rated to last 5 times as long. Win-win-win in my book.

I assume new fixtures set up for the "tubes" are also available, and at relatively reasonable price.

LEDs on Amazon

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