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The Lighting Comparison to End All Lighting Comparisons

(AKA: A Lighting Cost Guide)

Contributed by Thomas Sasala


Copyright 1995. This information may only be reproduced in it's entirety, with complete attribution to the author.

Fluorescent Combinations

Normal Output, Electronic Ballast (4 & 2)

Custom hood made with 4 normal output daylight bulbs and 2 normal output actinic bulbs. Wizard ballasts and BJB endcaps can be replaced with cheaper models. This is assuming you can fit 6 T-12 bulbs into the hood.

Fluorescent 		Watts	Price/Ea	Qnt	Subtotal
-----------------------------------------------------------------
   3 Wizard Ballasts		28.99		3	86.97
   4 Ultralumes		160	10.99		4	43.96
   2 Actinics		80	15.99		2	31.98
   BJB Endcaps			9		6	54.00
   Wiring			15		1	15.00
   Hood				40		1	40.00
-----------------------------------------------------------------
	Total Wattage	240		Total Cost	271.91

Power Calculations:
	Current/Bulb	0.45
	#Bulbs		6	
	Power		324	
	KwHr		0.324
	Photoperiod	14
	Days		365
	Cost/KwHr	0.12

Cost Calculations:
	Electric/year:		198.68
	Replacement Cost/year:	107.92
	Total Cost/year:	306.60
	Total Cost/Month:	16.55	

Note: Replacement costs include replacing the daylight bulbs once a year and the actinic bulbs twice a year. VHO bulbs may need to be replaced on a more regular basis (e.g., twice to three times a year).

Electric/Year = KwHr * Photoperiod * Days * (Cost per KwHr)
Replacement Cost/Year = (# Daylights * Cost) + 2*(# Actinic * Cost)

VHO with tar Ballast (2 & 2)

Custom hood made with 2 very high output daylight bulbs and 2 very high output actinic bulbs. This configuration uses tar ballasts, which will draw more current than shown in the power calculations (due to losses within the transformer), so the power calculations are on the low side.

Fluorescent 		Watts	Price/Ea	Qnt	Subtotal
-----------------------------------------------------------------
   Tar Ballast			50		2	100.00
   4 VHO (50/50)	440	24.99		4	99.96
   Wiring			15		1	15.00
   BJB Endcaps			9		4	36.00
   Hood				40		1	40.00
-----------------------------------------------------------------
	Total Wattage	440		Total Cost	290.96

Power Calculations:
	Current/Bulb	1.50
	#Bulbs		4
	Power VHO	720
	KwHr		0.72
	Photoperiod	14
	Days		365
	Cost/KwHr	0.12

Cost Calculations:
	Electric/year:		441.50
	Replacement Cost/year:	149.94
	Total Cost/year:	591.44
	Total Cost/Month:	36.79

VHO with Icecap (4 & 2)

Custom hood made with 4 very high output daylight bulbs and 2 normal output actinic bulbs. Wizard ballast and BJB endcaps can be replaced with cheaper models. This is assuming you can fit 6 T-12 bulbs into the hood.

Fluorescent 		Watts	Price/Ea	Qnt	Subtotal
-----------------------------------------------------------------
   Icecap 660			185		1	185.00
   4 VHO 		440	24.99		4	99.96
   Wizard Ballast		28.99		1	28.99
   2 Actinics		80	15.99		2	31.98
   BJB Endcaps			9		6	54.00
   Wiring			15		1	15.00
   Hood				40		1	40.00
-----------------------------------------------------------------
	Total Wattage	520		Total Cost	454.93

Power Calculations:
	Current/Bulb	1.50
	#Bulbs		4
	Current/Bulb	0.45
	#Bulbs		2
	Power VHO	720
	Power Actinic	108
	Total Power	828
	KwHr		0.828
	Photoperiod	14
	Days		365
	Cost/KwHr	0.12

Cost Calculations:
	Electric/year:		507.73
	Replacement Cost/year:	163.92
	Total Cost/year:	671.65
	Total Cost/Month:	42.31

VHO with Icecap (2 & 2)

Custom hood made with 2 very high output daylight bulbs and 2 very high output actinic bulbs.

Fluorescent 		Watts	Price/Ea	Qnt	Subtotal
-----------------------------------------------------------------
   Icecap 660			185		1	185.00
   4 VHO (50/50)	440	24.99		4	99.96
   Wiring			15		1	15.00
   BJB Endcaps			9		4	36.00
   Hood				40		1	40.00
-----------------------------------------------------------------
	Total Wattage	440		Total Cost	375.96

Power Calculations:
	Current/Bulb	1.50
	#Bulbs		4
	Power VHO	720
	KwHr		0.72
	Photoperiod	14
	Days		365
	Cost/KwHr	0.12

Cost Calculations:
	Electric/year:		441.50
	Replacement Cost/year:	149.94
	Total Cost/year:	591.44
	Total Cost/Month:	36.79

Metal Halide Combinations

Metal Halide with supplemental actinic

2 metal halide pendants with 5500K bulbs. Halides are supplemented with 2 normal output actinic bulbs. The actinic bulbs are mounted in some undefined manner. BJB endcaps and wizard ballast may be replaced with cheaper models.
MH (Pendant)		Watts	Price/Ea	Qnt	Subtotal
-----------------------------------------------------------------
   Corallife 175W	350	249		2	498.00
   2 Actinics		80	15.99		2	31.98
   Wizard Ballast		28.99		1	28.99
   BJB Endcaps			9		2	18.00
   Wiring			15		1	15.00
   Hood-ish			25		1	25.00
-----------------------------------------------------------------
	Total Wattage	430		Total Cost	616.97


Power Calculations:
	Current/Bulb	2.75
	#Bulbs		2
	Current/Bulb	0.45
	#Bulbs		2
	Power MH	660
	Power Actinic	108
	Total Power	768
	KwHr		0.768
	Photoperiod	14
	Days		365
	Cost/KwHr	0.12

Cost Calculations:
	Electric/year:		470.94
	Replacement Cost/year:	173.96
	Total Cost/year:	644.90
	Total Cost/Month:	39.25

Note: 175 watt matal halide bulbs ideally only draw 1.46 amps from 120 volts. To take into account loss in the ballast, the current is estimated at 2.75 amps. This is a very liberal estimate, so actual operating cost should be much less than shown here.

Replacement costs include replacing the metal halide bulbs once a year and the actinic bulbs twice a year.

Metal Halide with supplemental actinic

2 metal halide lamps with 5500K bulbs. Halides are supplemented with 2 normal output actinic bulbs. This combination utilizes a pre-built metal halide and actinic combination that is not encased in a hood. The hood needs to be custom built.

MH (Combo)		Watts	Price/Ea	Qnt	Subtotal
-----------------------------------------------------------------
   2 x 175W		350	439.99		1	439.99
   2 Actinics		80	15.99		2	31.98
   Hood				40		1	40.00
-----------------------------------------------------------------
	Total Wattage	430		Total Cost	511.97


Power Calculations:
	Current/Bulb	2.75
	#Bulbs		2
	Current/Bulb	0.45
	#Bulbs		2
	Power MH	660
	Power Actinic	108
	Total Power	768
	KwHr		0.768
	Photoperiod	14
	Days		365
	Cost/KwHr	0.12

Cost Calculations:
	Electric/year:		470.94
	Replacement Cost/year:	173.96
	Total Cost/year:	644.90
	Total Cost/Month:	39.25

Metal Halide with supplemental actinic

2 metal halide lamps with 5500K bulbs. Halides are supplemented with 2 normal output actinic bulbs. This combination is completely do-it-yourself (it does not utilize a pre-built combination). The wizard ballast and BJB endcaps may be replaced with cheaper models.

MH (DIY)		Watts	Price/Ea	Qnt	Subtotal
-----------------------------------------------------------------
   175 W ballast		60		2	120.00
   Mogul base			10		2	20.00
   Wiring			35		1	35.00
   175W Bulbs 		350	55		2	110.00
   Wizard Ballast		28.99		1	28.99
   2 Actinics		80	15.99		2	31.98
   BJB Endcaps			9		2	18.00
   Hood				40		1	40.00
-----------------------------------------------------------------
	Total Wattage	430		Total Cost	403.97


Power Calculations:
	Current/Bulb	2.75
	#Bulbs		2
	Current/Bulb	0.45
	#Bulbs		2
	Power MH	660
	Power Actinic	108
	Total Power	768
	KwHr		0.768
	Photoperiod	14
	Days		365
	Cost/KwHr	0.12

Cost Calculations:
	Electric/year:		470.94
	Replacement Cost/year:	173.96
	Total Cost/year:	644.90
	Total Cost/Month:	39.25

Metal Halide with supplemental actinic:

2 metal halide lamps with 5500K bulbs. Halides are supplemented with 2 normal output actinic bulbs. This combination utilizes a pre-built metal halide base, supplemented with DIY normal output actinic bulbs. The hood needs to be constructed as well. The wizard ballast and BJB endcaps may be replaced with cheaper models.

Metal Halide (2xMH)	Watts	Price/Ea	Qnt	Subtotal
-----------------------------------------------------------------
   175W			350	349.00		1	349.00
   Wizard Ballast		28.99		1	28.99
   2 Actinics		80	15.99		2	31.98
   BJB Endcaps			9.00		2	18.00
   Wiring			15.00		1	15.00
   Hood				40.00		1	40.00
-----------------------------------------------------------------
	Total Wattage	430		Total Cost	482.97


Power Calculations:
	Current/Bulb	2.75
	#Bulbs		2
	Current/Bulb	0.45
	#Bulbs		2
	Power MH	660
	Power Actinic	108
	Total Power	768
	KwHr		0.768
	Photoperiod	14
	Days		365
	Cost/KwHr	0.12

Cost Calculations:
	Electric/year:		470.94
	Replacement Cost/year:	173.96
	Total Cost/year:	644.90
	Total Cost/Month:	39.25

Metal Halide with supplemental actinic:

2 metal halide lamps with 5500K bulbs. Halides are supplemented with 2 normal output actinic bulbs. This combination utilizes a pre-built hood.

Metal Halide (Retail)	Watts	Price/Ea	Qnt	Subtotal
-----------------------------------------------------------------
   175W			350	599.00		1	599.00
   2 Actinics		80	15.99		2	31.98
-----------------------------------------------------------------
	Total Wattage	430		Total Cost	630.98


Power Calculations:
	Current/Bulb	2.75
	#Bulbs		2
	Current/Bulb	0.45
	#Bulbs		2
	Power MH	660
	Power Actinic	108
	Total Power	768
	KwHr		0.768
	Photoperiod	14
	Days		365
	Cost/KwHr	0.12

Cost Calculations:
	Electric/year:		470.94
	Replacement Cost/year:	173.96
	Total Cost/year:	644.90
	Total Cost/Month:	39.25

Metal Halide without supplemental actinic:

2 metal halide pendants with 5500K bulbs. Halides are not supplemented with actinic (this was not recommended by anyone on the net).

MH (Pendant)		Watts	Price/Ea	Qnt	Subtotal
-----------------------------------------------------------------
   Corallife 175W	175	249.00		2	498.00

-----------------------------------------------------------------
	Total Wattage	350		Total Cost	498.00


Power Calculations:
	Current/Bulb	2.75
	#Bulbs		2
	Power		660
	KwHr		0.66
	Photoperiod	14
	Days		365
	Cost/KwHr	0.12

Cost Calculations:
	Electric/year:		404.71
	Replacement Cost/year:	110.00
	Total Cost/year:	514.71
	Total Cost/Month:	33.73

Metal Halide without supplemental actinic

2 metal halide pendants with 6500K bulbs. Halides are not supplemented with actinic bulbs.

MH (Pendant)		Watts	Price/Ea	Qnt	Subtotal
-----------------------------------------------------------------
   Corallife 175W	175	279.00		2	558.00

-----------------------------------------------------------------
	Total Wattage	350		Total Cost	558.00


Power Calculations:
	Current/Bulb	2.75
	#Bulbs		2
	Power		660
	KwHr		0.66
	Photoperiod	14
	Days		365
	Cost/KwHr	0.12

Cost Calculations:
	Electric/year:		404.71
	Replacement Cost/year:	180.00
	Total Cost/year:	584.71
	Total Cost/Month:	33.73


Summary

Type	Config	Total	Strtup	Elect	Repl.	Total
		Watts	Cost	Cst/Yr	Cst/Yr	Cst/Yr
-----------------------------------------------------------------
FL	4+2 H	240	271.91	198.68	107.92	306.60
FL	4+2 H	520	454.93	507.73	163.92	671.65
FL	2+2 H	440	290.96	441.50	149.94	591.44
FL	2+2 H	440	375.96	441.50	149.94	591.44
MH+FL 	2 P,2 H	430	616.97	470.94	173.96	644.90
MH+FL	2+2 H	430	511.97	470.94	173.96	644.90
MH+FL	2+2 H	430	403.97	470.94	173.96	644.90
MH+FL	2+2 H	430	482.97	470.94	173.96	644.90
MH+FL	2+2 H	430	630.98	470.94	173.96	644.90
MH 5.5K	2 P	350	498.00	404.71	110.00	514.71
MH 6.5K	2 P	350	558.00	404.71	180.00	584.71

4 + 2 - 4 Daylight and 2 Actinic
2 + 2 - 2 Daylight or Metal Halide and 2 Actinic
P - Pendant
H - Hood mounted lamps


All information presented above was compiled and computed by The Pez. Only public sources of information where used. I can not be held responsible for errors, miscalculations, or changes in prices (ok, maybe I can be, but...).


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This page was last updated 29 October 1998