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400 Watt Metal Halide Replacements: LED Highbay vs. T5 Highbay


LED vs. T5, the Highbay Heavy Hitters

When it comes to highbay lighting, metal halide is a thing of the past. Way to costly to run and maintain. Today, most people rely on T5 highbay's to fill that lighting application. It's inexpensive for the initial purchase, and is very cheap to maintain and run.

LED HighbaysLED highbay

Now enter the LED highbay. Just a few years ago LED technology could not produce a reliable LED configuration to compete with T5 or 400 watt Metal Halide output. Those days are gone!

Lithonia has a new PROTEON LED highbay offering that boasts some very impressive numbers when it comes to lumen output.

A typical 400 watt highbay produces 20,000 lumens with a brand new lamp. However, that number quickly decreases due to the poor life of metal halide. so lets assume the lamp is running at 70% output(most places I have been are far wore than that). That takes us down to 14,000 lumens, all while consuming 456W of electricity.

The LED fixture produces 18,000 Lumens while consuming a paltry 213W....thats a 54% reduction in operating costs!!! Not to mention that the LED fixture maintains 92% of it's output at 60,000 hrs. and has a rated life of 100,000 hrs!

By the way, you can also do motion sensors on LED. Cutting costs even more! 

LED Highbay Pros and Cons

I'm not going to sugar coat it, the initial investment into LED is more expensive than T5 fluorescent. Is the cost worth it?

If your looking to replace 10-15 metal halide highbays, than no,LED does not make sense.

If however, you have fixtures that are very hard to get too or you have fixtures over high demand equipment that can not be shut down to change a lamp....than LED is a great solution due to it's very long life expectancy.

T5 and LED Cost, the Nitty Gritty

A typical T5 4 lamp consumes roughly 232 watts and costs in the $160 dollar range(lamps included). So at 100 fixtures thats 232,000 watts and a $16,000 total fixture cost.

This particular LED is 213 watts and costs roughly $650. Thats 138,450 watts and $65,000 per 100 fixtures. Your probably thinking "holy cow thats a big difference". Well lets look at other factors.

The LED has 100,000 hours of life at a minimum. T5 lamps have a life of around 36,000 hrs. To have an electrical contractor come in and re lamp your fixtures 3 times and add in at least one ballast change your looking at easily an additional $25,000 in maintenance costs. Factor in the energy savings the LED fixture has over the T5 fixture and your numbers are very close.

$16,000(fixt. cost) + $25,000(maintenance cost of T5 over 100,000 hr.) + $19,000(energy savings using LED over 100,000 hrs.) = $60,000.

The numbers are pretty much a wash. Go LED and have worry free lighting for the next 100,000 hrs, or go T5 and set aside a budget to do maintenance for the next 100,000 hrs.

In an area that is costly for a company to shut down to do maintenance LED makes a whole lot of sense. Don't get me wrong....I still love T5 fluorescent. It's just a matter of whats the right fixture for the job and what's most important to the customer.

Need Help?

Hovey Electric looks for the best lighting applications to satisfy the needs of our clients.  Each facility is a little different than the last. 

Typcially we need to see the inside of your facility first hand to determine what type of lighting you have now and to measure the lighting levels. 

Hovey Electric can perform a complete audit of your facility to determine what is right for you, for FREE.  Let's take a look at your facility, it's FREE and no obligation required or learn more about energy efficiency by downloading our FREE guide...just click on the banner below.  

Related Articles:

How To Calculate Lighting Costs For Metal Halide Fixtures

LED Industrial Lighting:New Energy Efficient Hazardous Area Lighting

T5 Lighting: 5 Reasons Why T5 Lighting Puts T12 Lighting In The Dark

How To Calculate Watts: 400 Metal Halide vs. T-5 High Bay Fluorescent





It's quite a comprehensive page. Incredibly interesting indeed. Thanks.
Posted @ Friday, September 06, 2013 12:43 AM by nautilus equipment
Thanks for the great site. Good reality check on latest technologies. But, looks like some of the math on the LED cost/benefit is wrong. Watts should be 213,000 vs 232,000 for savings of 19,000 watts. This times 100,000 hours gives 1.9 million kWh saved. At $.10 per kWh that would be $190,000 in savings over time. Which puts the LED way ahead on total cost. Also, fewer LED highbays may be needed since they are 18,000 maintained lumens versus 14,000.
Posted @ Wednesday, September 25, 2013 5:12 PM by Mark
We have a high school gymnasium with 48 HID fixtures and I am torn between 6 lamp T5's or LED retrofits. What do you think?
Posted @ Thursday, April 03, 2014 12:05 PM by Todd Glenn
looking to replace 2 25ft elevation high bay lights for a facility 
thank you Harry
Posted @ Thursday, June 12, 2014 12:59 PM by Harry Darman
In my opinion, the Cree "CXB" is the best LED highbay for the money. Producing 23,000 (delivered) Lumens at only 230 Watts, it is an excellent one-for-one replacement of 400w Metal Halide fixtures.
Posted @ Wednesday, September 10, 2014 11:02 PM by Bob Oppermann
The lithonia high bay looks great. It does use less energy than the cree highway but it does produce less lumens too. Alternatively to replacing entire fixtures, there are metal halide LED replacement lamps like the ones found herhe ttps:/ which can be cheaper or cost as much as a lithonia or cree fixture. Fixtures are great because they don't need a ballast and save money in the long run in that area.
Posted @ Tuesday, October 21, 2014 12:43 AM by Led Canada
Dear Sir, 
i am working at pharmaceutical plant and we have one RM store(Like godown) 
area(9000 Sq. ft.)i want to replaced all the 21 nos. 150w HID lamp with LED lamp so suggest me how i can calculate all the parameter regarading this work to submit it in front of my manager to pass this proposal.
Posted @ Monday, March 02, 2015 6:36 AM by Roshan
i need a led lamps that can give me a power saving and give the same lux of 400 w of metal halide lamps
Posted @ Monday, March 02, 2015 3:59 PM by michel
I think the math still may be off above. At 100,000 hours x 19W per hour saved = 1,900,000W hours (or 1,900kWh). Electricity is charged per kWh (1,000 watts), so 1,900kWh x $0.10/kW = $190 in total energy cost savings. This appears to be a wash on total cost (fixure & operational with maintenance). However, I have a question regarding what happens after 100,000 hours? In my experience with facilities maintenance, a T-5 fixture can continue to be maintained (relamped, ballast replacement, tombstones, etc.) until it gets to the point of nickel and diming - to which it gets replaced with a new fixture. What is involved with maintaining a LED fixture after 100,000 hours (new electronic components & diodes or complete replacement)? 
Posted @ Thursday, March 12, 2015 7:36 AM by Tom
A believe a 400w Metal Halide lamp gives around 40,000 initial lumens - not 20,000 as suggested above. That knocks the calculations on the head!
Posted @ Thursday, March 26, 2015 10:17 AM by Anonymous
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Posted @ Wednesday, May 20, 2015 9:21 PM by wewe
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