As a general rule, the University of Michigan (U-M) uses fluorescent light fixtures to provide illumination in all of its buildings. In the past, the most common type of ballast in a fluorescent fixture was an electromagnetic design that operated at 60 Hz. Fluorescent light fixtures were cheap and reliable, but had several drawbacks including noise, light flicker, and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) content. Because of the drawbacks, the U-M has made a commitment to replace worn out electromagnetic ballasts with newer high-efficiency electronic ballasts.
40 CFR Part 761.
29 CFR 1910.1200.
Overview of Procedure
For several years, U-M Plant electricians have been installing an electronic ballast when an electromagnetic ballast fails. However, the clear advantage of electronic ballasts has led to the decision in some buildings to make a complete change-over, even though the existing electromagnetic ballasts may still be functioning.
If a PCB-containing ballast is leaking at the time of removal, the ballast is wrapped and sealed in a heavy gauge plastic bag. As required by the recycling facility, the wrapped leaking ballasts are placed in separate containers to segregate leaking ballasts from non-leaking ballasts. If the shroud is grossly contaminated, it is removed and disposed of with the ballast. If any of the surrounding area is contaminated, it is wiped with solvent, followed by washing with soap and water. All solvent soaked rags used during the clean-up procedures are disposed of along with the ballasts as contaminated material.
& Health Precautions/Personal Protective Equipment
The following table summarizes some of the benefits of using the newer electronic ballasts versus the older electromagnetic type:
One electromagnetic ballast operating two 4 - foot 34 watt T12 lamps requires 83 watts input. One electronic ballast operating two 4 - foot 32 watt T12 lamps requires 60 watts input. This represents a 27 percent energy savings.