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Should I Retrofit Existing Fluorescent Fixtures?

submitted by Tracie Losch, BSI Lighting Designer

Parabolic vs LED?


Over the course of my career, I have made it my mission to rid the corporate world of “cave” creating fixtures called Parabolic Troffers.

As technology evolves, lighting within the workplace has also evolved.  As first generation computers arrived on the scene, previous Prismatic Lens fluorescent fixtures caused heavy glares on the convex computer screens.  As a result, Parabolic Fluorescent light fixtures were introduced as the standard fixture in the workplace.  While these fixtures reduced glare on convex computer screens, they have a reputation of creating a “cave” atmosphere due to creating harsh shadows. Spaces often feel darker, smaller and duller where Parabolic fixtures are used.

With the evolution of technology, flat screen computers are now equipped with anti-reflectance technology = no glare!

So, if the Parabolic fixture was created simply to eliminate screen glare, but screen glare is no longer an issue, why are we still using Parabolic fixtures — especially when they create such a dull affect on our environment?

As LED (Light Emitting Diodes) fixtures were brought into the market there has been a dramatic changes to how we can now customize every space to meet all task, energy and budgetary needs.  We are able to provide general illumination levels in a multitude of ways. We can now create environments that are functional, comfortable and enjoyable to work in.

If you are still unsure, learn more why Parabolic Troffers Should Not Be Used in the Modern Workplace.

Should You Retrofit Existing Fixtures with LED tubes?

You may have read about the benefits of retrofitting existing parabolic fixtures with LED tubes.  Experts are saying that this is an “inexpensive” option to upgrading your fixtures without replacing them, while getting the benefits of the energy-efficient fixture.

In my opinion this is not the answer.  There are several ways that retrofitting fixtures can be done – and they all require labor.  Depending on the method used, additional components may be required up front or in the future.  While this option to retrofit a parabolic fixture may save on energy, the most important thing that is not being achieved — is the quality of the light.

By keeping the parabolic fixtures, your environment will still lack uniformity and appear dull.

LED is Affordable

Sales 2B LRLED-designed light fixtures are designed to be efficient. When using LED fixtures, we are able to increase spacing and reduce the overall number of fixtures to be installed.  When retrofitting your existing fixtures, you are keeping the same spacing criteria, resulting in more light on the task surface and using MORE energy than is actually needed.

LED luminaires have the perception that they are not affordable, and yes there are some types of LED fixtures that are on the more expensive side; however there are so many affordable options available today and that is only going to improve as this technology improves.

Why compromise a beautifully designed space with lighting that was designed for computers that we haven’t used since the 1980’s?

Proper lighting is essential for the workplace. Good lighting has a direct impact on employee productivity and overall health.   I welcome you to our Design Center to see the multitude of ways that general illumination can be achieved without compromising the environment in which it is in.

BSI has been improving the way people work since 1947.  Our in-house professionals design, build and furnish interiors to create collaborative and inspirational environments.  Find out how you can improve employee wellness, increase productivity, and improve your office design with a complimentary lighting evaluation by our Lighting Designers.

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