Reflectors For Fluorescent Lamps

Optical reflectors are specially shaped, highly reflective sheets (typically silver-coated or polished aluminum) that retrofit into standard fluorescent fixtures. Their unique shape and high reflectivity improve light focus from the fixture into the workplace. They are especially useful on overlit facilities. Fluorescent lamps emit light in all directions from the tube, including up into the fixture. Optical reflectors are designed to reflect the wasted light downward, as shown below and are best suited to applications with horizontal visual and work surfaces, such as offices. If vertical surfaces are to be lit (e.g., warehouse shelves), reflectors should be considered carefully to ensure that enough light will be available.

Reflectors can be installed in two or four lamp fluorescent troffers or in common strip-light fixtures. Energy is saved by delamping a portion of the lamps in each fixture. With reflectors in place, you can delamp by 50%, often with a minimal decrease in light levels.

Since they must remain clean to be effective, reflectors should not be used in industrial-type open strip fixtures where they are likely to be covered with dust.

Besides delamping, other ways reflectors help reduce your costs are:

  • Fewer lamps and ballasts mean reduced maintenance.
  • Fewer lamps generate less heat, so cooling costs are lowered.
  • Cooler temperatures extend the life of lamps and ballasts.
  • Lamps and ballasts that are removed in delamping can be reused as needed.

Other Things to Remember:

  • Regular cleaning keeps light levels up and energy costs down. For maximum performance, clean fixtures and lamps before installing reflectors and periodically thereafter.
  • Disconnect unused ballasts or they will continue to use energy.
  • For extra savings, consider replacing remaining lamps with energy saving fluorescent lamps and ballasts.