Fluorescent Lighting Standard Changes

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’ve been considering fluorescent lighting upgrades at your facility, changes to federal efficacy standards for linear fluorescent lighting may help you decide to act sooner rather than later. To learn more, click on a question below; click on it again to "close" it.

Why are most T12 fluorescent systems effectively being phased out?

The Energy Policy Act (EPACT) of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 are two energy legislative rulings that have been passed by the federal government. These regulations were enacted legislation to establish energy reduction targets for the United States.

This has significant impacts on lighting technologies, specifically linear fluorescent lamps, since the minimum efficacy (lumens per watt) standards have increased. This increase will effectively eliminate the production of all T12 fluorescent technologies as well as the original T8 fluorescent lamps. T12 lamps and magnetic ballasts are considered outdated compared to today’s T8 and T5 fluorescent technologies.

The change in standards is the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) effort to remove less energy-efficient T12 fluorescent systems from the marketplace and to encourage commercial and industrial facilities to improve efficiency.

What happened on July 14, 2012?

First, effective in 2010, T12 magnetic ballasts can no longer be manufactured or imported for sale. As a result of this federal regulation, the only type of ballast available for purchase for T12 lamps is an electronic ballast. In addition, effective July 14, 2012, all linear fluorescent lamps manufactured or imported for sale in the U.S. must meet more stringent efficacy standards as indicated in the following table.

Lamp Type Correlated Color
Temperature
Energy Conservation
Standard Efficiency
4-Foot (T12/T8) Medium Bi-pin ≥25W ≤ 4,500K 89
> 4,500K and
≤ 7,000K
88
2-Foot (T12/T8) U-Shaped ≥25W ≤ 4,500K 84
> 4,500K and
≤ 7,000K
81
8-Foot (T12/T8) Slimline ≥52W ≤ 4,500K 97
> 4,500K and
≤ 7,000K
93
8-Foot (T12/T8) High Output ≤ 4,500K 92
> 4,500K and
≤ 7,000K
88
4-Foot (T5) Miniature Bi-pin
Standard Output ≥26W
≤ 4,500K 86
> 4,500K and
≤ 7,000K
81
4-Foot (T5) Miniature Bi-pin
High Output ≥49W
≤ 4,500K 76
> 4,500K and
≤ 7,000K
72
Can I still buy T12 lamps?

The sale of lamps that do not pass the more stringent efficacy standards is not prohibited. You will be able to purchase these lamps until the available supply is exhausted. However, the price of T12 lamps has been increasing as the supply diminishes.

The effect of the new standards may vary depending on where you are located, the total number of T12 lamps in use, availability of replacement lamps, stringency of energy codes and other factors. Also, please note that there are a few types of T12 lamps in the market that currently meet the new efficacy standards.

Should I upgrade all my T12 lamps now?

Yes! Take advantage of available cash incentives for replacing T12 fixtures with premium T8 or T5 fluorescent lamps and ballasts.

By converting now, you will benefit from available incentives, as well as immediate energy savings that will help your business save money on utility costs year after year.

In addition, newer T8 and T5 technologies create better quality light and give off less heat, reducing air conditioning cooling loads. New lighting requires little to no maintenance for more than 24,000 hours of operation, lasting up to twice as long as T12 lamps, reducing maintenance costs associated with lamp changes.

Incentives availabe for upgrading lighting

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Before you start your project: