I am in the process of upgrading the lighting in my shop. It currently has a number of 4-lamp and 2-lamp T12 4-foot fluorescent fixtures. The best solution is to replace the ballast in each of these fixtures with high-efficiency electronic ballast ($15), and replace the lamps with T8 high-CRI bulbs. This will save energy, and greatly improve the quality of the light. LEDs and T5 fluorescent are MUCH more expensive to install, and their energy savings are not nearly enough to justify the cost. Most LED systems actually use more energy than T5 or T8. Remember that running a T8 with an electronic ballast will provide more light than it's nominal rating, which is for magnetic ballasts. T5 are always rated for electronic ballasts, so it is not a fair comparison.
For new fixtures in my shop, the cheapest/best solution is to buy $10 "shop lights" and replace the ballast. The total fixture cost is $25, and efficiency is 96 lumens/watt for a total output of almost 6000 lumens. It can't be beat! Commercially-available T8 fixtures with electronic ballasts are more expensive, and the quality of the ballast is suspect.
- I previously worked on Virtual Reality and other hardware at Valve. I currently work at Google[x].
Prior to starting at Valve, I built computer peripherals such as keyboards, mice, and joysticks that were designed to be used inside MRI machines. My company, Mag Design and Engineering, sold these devices directly to researchers at academic institutions who used them to publish scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals.
After work, I spend time on many different types of projects that usually involve circuit design, machining, material selection, and general fabrication/hacking. My favorite place to be is my home workshop.
ben dot krasnow at gmail