New T8 Lamp Rules

New T8 & T5 Lighting Rules In Effect

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued new energy standards for general-service fluorescent lamps in 2015 – however the new standards contained therein affecting T8 lamps were not mandated to go into effect until January 26, 2018.

These standards identify categories of lamps and impose minimum efficacies, which are expressed in lumens/W. With the new T8 standards going into effect this week, we recap some of the important provisions of these new lighting requirements.

History of DOE Lighting Energy Standards

The Energy Policy Act of 1992 implemented government regulation of general-service fluorescent lamps, to be enforced by the DOE. In 2009, the DOE expanded these regulations to include 8 foot T8 lamps, 4 foot T5 lamps, and a broader range of wattages of 4 foot T8 and T12 lamps.

In July 2012, the DOE rules eliminated the majority of T12 lamps. And, lower-color rendering 4 foot T8 lamps were granted a two-year exemption by the DOE, if a lamp manufacturer specifically requested it.

In 2015 new energy standards for T8 lamps were once again established – with manufacturers given 3 years to either discontinue or reengineer non-compliant T8 lamps. The three years have now expired, and enforcement goes into effect this coming Friday.

However, lighting distributors may still continue to sell non-compliant lamps until their inventories are exhausted – if the lamps were manufactured or imported before January 26, 2018.

General-Service Fluorescent Lamps

The new regulations for T8 lighting primarily impacts:

  • 4-ft. 32W T8 lamps
  • 2-ft. U-bend T8 laps
  • 4-ft. linear T5 and T5HO lamps
  • Some reduced-wattage T8 lamps

The 2015 rules changed the energy standards for T8 lamps by tightening the minimum required efficacy by an increase of one to four percent – up to the current maximum technology level available.

Minimum required efficacy for 4 ft. T5 lamps was increased by the DOE as much as 7% to 10%, while eight-foot lamps saw no increase. However, the regulations did extend the range of covered wattages for 8-ft. single-pin lamps and 4-ft. T5 and T5HO lamps.

Exemptions from New T8 & T5 Lighting Regulations

The DOE’s existing exemptions will continue to remain in effect. These include:

  • plant growth lamps
  • lamps for cold-temperature applications
  • colored lamps
  • impact-resistant lamps
  • reflectorized or aperture lamps
  • lamps for reprographic applications
  • UV lamps
  • lamps with a CRI of 87 or higher

Effect of New T8 & T5 Lighting Regulations

Back in 2010 the Department of Energy estimated that 4-ft. T8 lamps accounted for at least 20 percent of all commercial building sector lamps – as well as up to 44 percent of industrial sector lamps. This translates to more than 500 million 4-ft. linear T8 lamps in use in the United States.

However, many major manufacturers’ existing product lines already satisfied the new energy standards, or required only limited re-engineering. For this reason the commercial building sector has experienced only a very minimal impact on availability of affected T8 and T5 lamps.

The DOE estimates that over the course of the next 30 years, end-users will receive an average cost savings (factoring in energy cost savings and higher purchase cost) of $2 billion to $5 billion as a result of these new regulations.

In sum, the 2015 rules going into effect this week are one more step in removing the least-efficient and lowest-cost lamps from the market.

Detroit’s Leading Commercial Lighting Supplier

If you are an electrical contractor with questions about lamp availability or compliance under the new regulations, feel free to call the lighting experts at Team Electrical Sales.