New U.S. Department of Energy Standards Shake Up Commercial Fluorescent Lamps

New U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) standards require that all General Service Fluorescent Lamps (GSFL) manufactured after Jan. 26, 2018 meet increased efficacy standards, or lumens per watt, to encourage the adoption of high-efficiency lighting products. Fluorescent lamps with higher wattages, which require more energy to operate, will have greater difficulty meeting the new requirements.

The federal standards change will have significant impact on fluorescent T8 sales in the U.S. More than 112 million of the fluorescent T8 lamps sold in 2017 were 32-watt T8 lamps. Of these higher wattage lamps, nearly 70 percent are no longer compliant and will no longer be manufactured, according to data collected through the U.S. DOE and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.

Customers who are not yet ready to replace their non-compliant 32-watt T8 lamps with LEDs can make the switch to low wattage 25-watt and 28-watt T8 lamps, which are readily available in the market. In 2017, an estimated 15 million 28- and 25-watt lamps were sold across the country and nearly all of these lamps will comply with the new federal standards.

For commercial lighting customers around the country, these low wattage T8 lamps represent the simplest solution to the standards change. They comply with new standards, are comparable in price to many 32-watt models, are energy-efficient and boast reduced maintenance costs. They also provide the same occupant comfort and light quality occupants are accustomed to.

“Graybar is excited to initiate conversations and engage with our customers on converting to the low wattage T8 options that will help them save energy and money,” Graybar Lighting Business Development Manager Davis Chastain said. Graybar Electrical Supply is one of North America’s largest employee-owned companies specializing in electrical supplies, with locations in 49 states and Puerto Rico.

With millions of fluorescent T8s sold in the last year alone, manufacturers, distributors and lighting customers will need to re-evaluate their default lighting replacement products, in light of the new federal standards. Low watt T8s represent a simple, energy-efficient path to compliance in 2018.

“Sylvania has long recognized the benefits of low wattage T8 lamps for their decreased energy consumption and longer life, all without sacrificing light or output,” SYLVANIA/LEDVANCE Head of Utility Relations Christopher Lubeck said. “With this standard change going into effect, there’s even more reason to ensure our retailers and distributors think of low wattage T8 lamps first for maintenance and replacement.”

Visit the DOE’s website for more information on the new federal standards.

About the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) is a non-profit organization working to effect market transformation through the acceleration and adoption of energy-efficient products, services and practices. NEEA is an alliance of more than 140 Northwest utilities and energy efficiency organizations working on behalf of more than 13 million energy consumers. For more information, visit