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Business: Industrial


High-Intensity Discharge Lighting Systems

How Much Will I Save?

The combination of fewer luminaries, lower ballast losses and longer lamp life offers the potential for capital and operating savings when an electronic ballast HID system is used instead of a magnetic ballast system. Electronic HID ballasts are presently more expensive than magnetic models; however, the price premium is expected to decline as the technology matures. Consequently, your actual cost savings will depend on electricity savings and on the price paid for the electronic HID ballasts. Currently, electronic ballasts for low-wattage lamps (i.e. less than 250 W) cost about twice as much their magnetic counterparts. Electronic ballasts for high-wattage lamps (350 W and higher) can cost up to three times more than magnetic ballasts. To assist your calculation of potential cost savings, Table 1³ below compares the annual electricity consumption for magnetic and electronic ballast HID lighting systems in a typical warehouse installation. In this example, the electronic ballast system provides a 22 percent reduction in annual electricity use. If the potential additional cost savings from the dimming capabilities of electronic ballasts or the associated longer lamp life are also included, cost savings can be even higher.

Table 1
Comparison of Annual Electricity Use of a 400-W Metal Halide Lighting System Magnetic versus Electronic Ballasts

  Ballast Type
  Magnetic Electronic
Lamp wattage 400 W 400 W
Ballast input 55 W 10 W
Lamp count 100 87
System watts/lamp 455 W 410 W
Mean lumens/lamp 26 500 30 500
Total system watts 45 500 W 35 670 W
System mean lumens 2 650 000 2 653 500
Hours of operation 6 000 6 000
Annual cost of electricity* $25,662 $20,118
Annual savings - $5,544
Percent savings - 22%

*Assumes an electricity cost of $0.08 per kWh and a demand charge of $7 per kW.

³Performance data are based on manufacturers' information. See the Web sites at and

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