Fluorescent lamps and ballasts have been available for quite some time, but there have been advances in recent years. The T8 and T5 lamps have replaced the T12 fluorescent predecessor and electronic/programmable ballasts have brought great strides in efficiency, light output and controllability.
Many indoor applications have standardized around the use of flourescent T8 and T5 fixtures to replace the existing high energy draw fixtures with great success.
For parking garage and outdoor area lighting applications, there are a few challenges that may exist.
First are the available lengths. The most popular lamp lengths are 4′ and 8′. This geometry poses a hurdle when lighting large areas such as parking garages or walkways. The linear nature of the lamp produces a linear light layout and makes even, homogenous illumination difficult to achieve in many existing and new applications.
If a uniform light pattern can be achieved, the other consideration is the environment in which the fixture will be used. For indoor, controlled temperature applications, fluorescent lighting is many times an easy choice. In outdoor applications the considerations of cold weather and hot weather can have an adverse effect on performance. This coupled with issues caused by vibration, harsh weather effects and overall maintenance concerns that may decrease lamp/ballast and overall fixture life makes a detailed analysis by a lighting professional, extremely important before installation.
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