Federal Lighting Regulations: Impact on Commercial Users

Next year, Department of Energy (DOE) regulations will change the way some commercial users light office buildings, warehouses, retail centers and other places of business. In July 2012, regulations will eliminate some linear fluorescent and halogen PAR technologies in lieu of bulbs that produce more lumens per watt, offering greater energy savings while maintaining or improving light output.

To ensure a smooth transition, GE Lighting has developed a tool to help commercial users understand the legislation, the bulbs impacted and the available replacements. The GE Legislation Tool allows users to enter currently used bulb models into an online system to see if they are affected. This tool and other insights are available at www.gelighting.com/legislation.

Among the bulbs that will be eliminated under DOE regulations:

  • Most T12 Fluorescent Lamps: Used for overhead lighting in office buildings, schools, warehouses and other commercial settings. Regulations will cease production of nearly all four-foot and most eight-foot T12 lamps. These are tubular-shaped fluorescent lamps with a 1.5” diameter that came into production during the 1950s.
  • Standard T8 Fluorescent Lamps: Commonly used for overhead lighting, production of the less-efficient, 32-watt, four-foot T8 “700 series” lamps will come to an end. These are four-foot tubular-shaped fluorescent lamps with a 1” diameter. More efficient four-foot T8 lamp options that meet the regulations are available today, and the commercial market is already converting to newer T8 technology.
  • Halogen PAR Lamps: Most often found in track lighting, down lighting and fixtures that illuminate merchandise in retail settings, nearly all standard halogen PAR38, PAR30 and PAR20 lamps will be eliminated. More efficient Halogen PAR lamps that meet the regulations are already available, and more will be developed in the near future.
A variety of alternative energy-efficient technologies are available today. Among them:

  • More Efficient T8 Lamps: Most affected T12 and standard T8 lamps will be replaced with more efficient T8 lamps using electronic ballasts. These replacements are as much as 40 percent more efficient, last longer and offer better color. T8 lamps also are thinner and use less glass and fewer materials than T12 lamps, providing environmental improvements and allowing for easier transportation, storage and disposal.
  • Halogen-IR PAR Lamps: New halogen PAR lamps will incorporate infrared (IR) coatings that redirect wasted heat emitted by the bulb filament to produce more light without increasing wattage. This technology results in up to 30 percent energy savings over old technologies.
  • LED Technologies: LEDs are being used in many commercial settings and will be widely embraced as LED costs decrease in the coming years. LEDs offer a longer life and increased energy savings over other technologies. GE offers a variety of LED solutions, from LED modules with easy-to-maintain luminaires to LED edge lighting fixtures, sleek, dramatically framed fixtures for overhead lighting.