Original Article

Energy Efficiency

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 255-269

First online:

Cost–benefit analysis of retrofit of high-intensity discharge factory lighting with energy-saving alternatives

  • Daniel J. PrestonAffiliated withAlabama Industrial Assessment Center, The University of Alabama
  • , Keith A. WoodburyAffiliated withAlabama Industrial Assessment Center, The University of Alabama Email author 

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Due to increased concern about overall energy costs and the appearance of efficient and inexpensive lighting system alternatives, factories and plants with high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting are forced to consider retrofit with more modern, energy-efficient lighting. The decision is complicated from an economic perspective, and there is a lack of information readily available on the topic. This study provides an analysis of the replacement by retrofit of common probe-start metal halide and high-pressure sodium industrial lighting systems. Retrofit options considered include the more recent pulse-start metal halide lamps and a range of T5 high output and T8 fluorescent lamp configurations. Recent data on lighting system pricing, labor and energy costs, and time required for tasks are reported. The results generated include savings, payback period, and net present value for many retrofit options, as well as the change in energy consumption, carbon footprint, and lumen output for each retrofit. Effects of varying rate of return and daily duration of operation are considered. Based on change in lumen output, payback period, net present value, and comparison of lighting quality, one or two options are recommended from the overall retrofit options considered. A fluorescent retrofit is recommended for each of the HID initial scenarios considered. The payback period is no more than 3 years in any recommended case. The focus of this study is on the potential energy and cost savings, and some proposed solutions may, or may not, be acceptable due to lack of illuminance uniformity.


Industrial lighting Lighting retrofit Metal halide Industrial lighting efficiency