Who likes playing tennis in dim, shadowy light that makes it impossible to track the ball? While we’re sure not too many of your tennis club members find this enjoyable, we know you probably don’t enjoy the higher utility bills resulting from insufficient lighting. What is the problem here, and how can it be resolved?

There’s a good chance that your tennis courts are being lit by T12 lamps, which are in the process of being mandatorily phased out by the 2009 Department of Energy General Service Lamp legislation. If your facility has T12 that are burning out, there’s no way to replace them, as they haven’t been in production since July, 2012.

The DOE considers T12 lamps to be an inefficient technology, as it is over 80 years old. Since that time, lamps and bulbs have been developed that just work better. Think of it this way – your court’s lighting is becoming obsolete, and if you’re still using T12s, there’s no replacement. Basically, your money’s going out the door. Your solution is simple – T5 lamps, a much needed upgrade!

In a move to ensure efficient lighting that is better for the environment (not to mention consumers’ wallets), the DOE is promoting a highly efficient technology – the T5 lamps. These lamps offer a lower mercury content, longer lamp life, better color rendering, and 30% greater efficiency than their older counterparts.

There’s so many reasons why T5 lamps have replaced T12s as the preferred choice in tennis courts and other recreational areas. Consider some of these facts:

• T5 provide better quality, more natural light (which is especially beneficial for tennis players)!
• Depending on your usage, the bulbs you install now can burn just as brightly in 10 years. The Lumen Factor, or the amount of light the fixture puts out, decreases 5-7% over their rated life. Older T12 lamps can lose their Lumen Factor up to 70% in just 3 years.
• T12 lamps typically have a lifespan of 18,000 hours. T5HO lamps, on the other hand, can last up to 60,000 hours. As a facility manager, this means less maintenance time, fewer replacements, and lower costs on labor and management.
• Because T5s burn 1.6 times brighter than T12s, this allows you to install fewer fixtures in your facility. This can reduce your lighting expenses by 78%!
• T5 lamps burn cooler – helping to reduce your air conditioning costs.
• In many cases, the ROI is only 8-16 months.
• T5s retain 95% of their output at 8,000 burning hours.

Also, consider this – with T5, you can reduce your total fixture count. Because T5 lamps are only 5/8” in diameter (compared to 1-1/2” for T12 bulbs), you will also need to install new fixtures when replacing the lamps, and you’ll want an expert to do the job. That’s where Courtlite comes in!

Courtlite’s Services and Technology
Utilizing T5 fluorescent lighting technology, Courtlite’s systems significantly outperform metal halide and T12 fluorescent systems. Our indoor sports and tennis lighting offers maximum quality, while providing up to 3x the rated lamp life, reduced maintenance, and energy savings. Our customers typically save between 40-70% in energy costs.

Changing Your Old Bulbs to T5
When it comes to swapping your T12 lamps to T5, Courtlite can offer you two solutions. We can provide retrofit kits that will modify your existing fixtures (which will substantially reduce your energy cost while significantly increasing your light quality), or you may replace the existing fixture with a new Courtlite racquetball lighting system. This provides the best world-class court lighting available. Both options use T5 fluorescent technology, which also provide total management control. Our lighting is instant ON/OFF, allowing you to only have the lights on when the courts are occupied – which is a major money saver!

T5 Lamps + Ballasts
All fluorescent lamps need ballasts to maintain the current passing through the lamp at a certain value. There are mainly two types of ballasts: electromagnetic ballasts and electronic ballasts. Although electronic ballasts are more expensive, they have higher energy efficiency and can save money in the long run. Besides, electronic ballasts generate less heat during operation and therefore help reduce energy used for air conditioning.

Also, consider this: electromagnetic ballasts operate the lamps at 60hz, which will have a visible effect on how the ball is tracked by the player. A 60 cycle-per-second frequency can also produce a noticeable hum, which can be distracting or annoying to the patrons. Electronic ballasts operate at 42,000hz, which eliminates strobe and hum.

The energy used in lighting systems can also be reduced by using automatic controls. For example, infrared or ultrasonic motion sensors are used to detect the presence of people and automatically turn lights on or off accordingly.

T5 lamps cannot replace existing T12 or T8 lamps because of differences in physical and electrical characteristics. T5 lamps come in different lengths than T8 and T12 lamps. A nominal 4-foot T5 lamp is actually shorter than an equivalent T8 lamp [1149 millimeters (45.23 inches) in total]. Miniature bi-pin sockets fit T5 lamps, while T8 lamps need medium bi-pin sockets. These differences in dimension prevent T5 lamps from being used as replacements for T8 lamps.

This means that T5 lamps need special ballasts in order to operate. In most cases, the T5 ballasts will not work with your old T12 or T8 lamps. The ballast and the T5 are one unit, which reduces the cost of replacing future ballasts. Instant start, rapid start, and programmed start electronic ballasts are available for T5 lamp operation.

Ballasts for T5 lamps are available for 120-, 277-, 240-, and 347-volt operations. Most T5 ballasts are more compact than T8 ballasts, although the dimensions vary depending on manufacturer and lamp type. These small cross-section sizes allow luminaire designers to create thinner luminaires.

How Courtlite Works for YOU
At Courtlite, our goal is to use our experience and technology to provide your facilities with the most advanced, cost-effective system available. In order to operate at full efficiency, T5 lamps are the best option to use in your facility. That’s where we come in!

Courtlite Lighting Solutions is a division of Pacific Energy Solutions (PES)– a lighting design and supply company serving the commercial and industrial business community. We have been providing improved and energy efficient lighting solutions for our customers since 2003.

When it comes to replacing your old lamps and ballasts with the T5 option, this is a process that is best handled by a professional. Even with exhaustive research and calculation, the safest and most efficient route to take is to have a professional do the job. At Courtlite, we focus on all of the details, so you don’t have to. We know which fixtures are constructed more for appearance or lower price rather than long-term performance. We are able to determine if the environment is safe or if installing T5s may exceed the recommended ambient temperature suggested by both the fixture and ballast manufacturer. These are just some of the considerations that come into play.

Further Education
Are you still on the fence about replacing your old lamps with T5s? Check out the savings for yourself! These websites offer savings calculators so you can estimate your costs in the long run. Visit these sites for more information: