Lighting Retrofits Could be Creating Hazardous Situations

UL alerts the public that improperly installed or uncertified kits could be posing safety hazards.

The following has been republished from Lumen Insights. You can view the original article, written by Shari Hunter, on page 7 here.

In many states, utility providers are offering rebates and other financial incentives to businesses that upgrade or retrofit their facilities with more energy-efficient lighting. While the move is a positive step, care isn’t always taken to use properly certified retrofit kits and/or to complete the retrofit according to kit installation instructions to assure that the resulting upgraded lighting fixture meets the equivalent certification requirements of the enforced code. Compounding the issue is that companies and individuals performing retrofits are not always obtaining the proper permits, and not all authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) mandate inspection of lighting retrofits, so the hazards are not always easily identified.

“Many of these retrofits are being completed in ways that create safety hazards where none existed before, creating unintended consequences in the name of energy efficiency,” said Marguerite Carroll, regional manager for UL’s Regulatory Services division.

The components used in the retrofit may be UL Listed or otherwise certified, but if the whole system, including the ballasts, drivers, lamp holders and lamps, is not evaluated and certified for safety as a complete kit for the specific type of luminaire, problems can occur.

“The common thinking is that LED retrofits are low-voltage. This is not true. All retrofit kits will include branch circuit connections and should be treated with proper safety precautions,” said Bahram Barzideh, principal engineer with UL’s lighting division.

For utilities providing financial incentives for lighting conversions that modify the existing luminaire, consideration should be given to implementing minimum specific criteria before the retrofit installation can begin. The minimum criteria should include proper permits, use of the proper certified luminaire retrofits kits by qualified installers, and proof of inspection by the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). In most jurisdictions, this is the electrical inspector.

UL urges those undertaking a lighting retrofit to use only certified retrofit kits in accordance with their certification to help ensure the continued compliance with certification requirements for the retrofitted luminaire and the NEC and to have the installation inspected by their local jurisdiction. Certified LED retrofit kits can be verified on UL Product Spec at productspec.UL.com or in UL’s Online Certifications Database at bit.ly/RetrofitKits. More detailed information about retrofits and retrofit safety can be found here.

View START Lighting’s retrofit listing on ul.com.

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