Most-Commonly Used T12 Fluorescent Lamps to Start Disappearing in Less Than One Year. "Don't Wait,"

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Most-Commonly Used T12 Fluorescent Lamps to Start Disappearing in Less Than One Year. "Don't Wait," National Lighting Bureau Advises.


Silver Spring, MD - The most-commonly used four-foot, eight-foot, and two-foot (U-shaped) T12 fluorescent lamps will begin disappearing from distributors' and retailers' shelves in less than one year. The targeted lamps - long-time commercial-lighting staples - fail to meet efficiency standards that will go into effect on July 1, 2012, the National Lighting Bureau (NLB) reports.

According to NLB Chair Howard P. Lewis (Lighting Alternatives, Inc.), who represents the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) on the Bureau board, the lamp types most affected include:

  • four-foot, medium bi-pin T12 lamps,
  • eight-foot, single-pin T12 Slimline lamps,
  • eight-foot T12 800mA HO lamps with RDC bases, and
  • two-foot, medium bi-pin T12 U-lamps,.

T12 lamps have been in use since 1938. The Bureau estimates that as many as 500 million are still installed in commercial, industrial, institutional, and other nonresidential lighting systems nationwide. "The ballasts these systems need to function are no longer being manufactured in or imported to the United States. Those who own conventional T12 systems will need to modernize them or replace them altogether. If you're among them, don't wait," Mr. Lewis said. "Making the change sooner rather than later can result in considerable cost savings, because some of the existing financial incentives will likely be reduced or withdrawn once keeping T12s in place is no longer a reasonable option."

Bureau Vice Chair Cary S. Mendelsohn (Imperial Lighting Maintenance Company), the interNational Association of Lighting Management Companies' (NALMCO's) representative, commented that the new efficiency standards also affect some T8 lamps, a more efficient fluorescent lamp, introduced in 1981. As examples, four-foot medium bi-pin T8 basic 700 Series lamps rated at less than 2,850 lumens fail to meet the new regulations (all other four-foot, medium bi-pin T8s comply, as do 800 Series two-foot, medium bi-pin U-lamps). Most T8 eight-foot, single-pin Slimline lamps comply, except for some 700 Series lamps that deliver fewer than 5,723 lumens at 59W. Likewise, all eight-foot T8 HO RDC lamps comply, except for some 700 Series lamps that deliver fewer than 7,912 lumens at 86W.

T5 lamps are covered by the regulations, too, Mr. Mendelsohn noted, although all four-foot, miniature bi-pin base T5s comply. "The intent of the new T5 requirement is to keep lesser-performing lamps out of the U.S. market," he said.

The specific types of T12 lamps that will begin disappearing in July 2012 include:

  • most of today's F40 and F34T12 lamps and almost all FB40 and FB34T12 U-lamps;
  • all of today's 75W F96T12 lamps;
  • all of today's 60W F96T12/ES lamps, with the exception of a few 700/SP and 800/SPX lamps;
  • all conventional 110W F96T12 HO lamps that deliver fewer than 10,120 lumens; and
  • all of today's 95W F96T12/ES/HO, unless they can provide at least 8,740 lumens.

According to NLB Executive Director John P. Bachner, "Complying with the new regulations presents an opportunity for cost savings that go far, far beyond those associated with energy savings alone. By incorporating task-sensitive, High-Benefit Lighting® design techniques that often result in fewer lamps and luminaires being used, the new lighting can help people perform faster, safer, and with far fewer errors. A $1 energy savings can easily be supplemented by a $10 productivity benefit," Mr. Bachner said, "as long as the lighting-system designers know what they're doing." A state-by-state list of lighting-system designers is available at the Bureau's website (, as is guidance on how to make an effective selection.

Established in 1976, the National Lighting Bureau is an independent, not-for-profit, lighting-information source sponsored by professional societies, trade associations, manufacturers, and agencies of the U.S. government, including, among others:

  • enLIGHTen America;
  • GE Lighting;
  • Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES);
  • Imperial Lighting Maintenance Company;
  • interNational Association of Lighting Management Companies (NALMCO);
  • Lighting Alternatives, Inc.;
  • Lighting Controls Association;
  • Lutron Electronics Company, Inc.;
  • Magnaray;
  • National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA);
  • National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA);
  • U.S. General Services Administration.

To learn how to become a sponsor of the National Lighting Bureau, or for more information about the Bureau's activities, High-Benefit Lighting, or related topics, visit the NLB website ( or contact NLB staff by telephone (301/587-9572) or e-mail (