When Are Your Fluorescent Lights Being Discontinued?

Published March 2013 by Darcie DeFoe

The quick and short answer is, if your office, store, hospital or school is still being lit with T12 linear fluorescent lamps, then yes, you have likely already experienced difficulty sourcing replacement products for burned out lamps or ballasts.

Even some T8 lamps have been phased out. US Congress has enacted legislation to prohibit the manufacture of these and other inefficient lighting technologies, and is calling for manufacturers to meet minimum efficiency requirements and lumens per watt for new products.

While the discontinued products may no longer be manufactured, they can still be sold until existing supplies are gone. In the meantime, consumers are likely to pay a premium for the lamps themselves, but also more in utility costs because these technologies use more energy. If you are using these lamps, it’s a great time to consider lighting efficiency projects.

WHY IS THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY REGULATING T12 LAMPS?

DOE is regulating T12 lamps and some T8 lamps, incandescent lamps, and other inefficient technologies as a method of moving energy consumers to be more efficient. The new standards for linear fluorescent lamps is based on efficacy, or ensuring that newer lighting technology offers greater lumens (light output) per watt and a higher CRI (Color Rendering Index.) In effect since July 2012, the legislation eliminates nearly all 4-foot T12 lamps, some 4-foot T8 lamps, most 8-foot T12 lamps, and almost all standard halogen PAR38, PAR30 and PAR20 lamps from the market.

T12 technology is over 80 years old. Since that time, lamps and bulbs have been developed that just work better. T8 and T5 linear fluorescents have:

  • lower mercury content
  • longer lamp life
  • better color rendering
  • are 30% or more efficient than older counterparts

REGULATION CONTINUES TO PROMOTE GREATER EFFICIENCIES

Additional legislation will come into effect to continue promoting energy efficiency advancements. More T8 products will be phased out and wider use of LED and other high efficiency lighting products will become more adapted. Here is a look at some changes you can expect.

Lighting Legislation Timeline from GE

Additionally, some good online tools and resources exist such as this chart from GE showing replacement options for products phased out in linear fluorescent, halogen and incandescent technologies.

LEGISLATIVE ACTS AFFECTING LIGHTING USERS*

A time line from GE Lighting shows how these changes have been in the works for the past several years.

2005 ENERGY POLICY ACT
Established minimum efficiency requirements, incentives and research dollars for lamps, ballasts, fixtures and LEDs.

2007 ENERGY INDEPENDENCE AND SECURITY ACT
Established minimum efficiency requirements for halogen and incandescent lamps beginning January 1, 2012.

2009 DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY REGULATIONS
New efficiency standards will place lumens per watt (LPW) requirements on linear and U-shaped fluorescent lamps and halogen PAR lamps effective July 14, 2012 through July 14, 2014.

*There are exclusions to each of these regulations. For specific details go to www.gelighting.com/legislation. Eliminated products may not be manufactured on or after the effective dates noted above, but existing inventories may be sold until exhausted.

LAMP COMPARISON CHART, QUICK FACTS!

linear fluorescent lamp com

With this chart and some simple math you can easily recognize the difference between T12, T8 and T5 lamps if you are not sure how to tell which is which. This chart shows the difference in diameter between sizes. The “12,” “8,” and “5” actually refer to how many eighths of an inch the diameter of the lamp measures. For Example: 12*(1/8) =1.5, the diameter of a T12 lamp.