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T12 Fluorescent & Incandescent Lamp Phase Out

Welcome to the Connexion T12 Phase Out Resource Center.

Connexion has amassed an extensive repository of resources to enable our clients a better understanding the legislation and its impact on their facilities. Armed with this knowledge, we hope that you have the facts necessary to make smart, educated decisions. Further down this page are numerous downloads and other various media addressing the T12 phaseout as well as the incandescent lamp phase out.

Effective July 14, 2012, production of most T12 florescent lamps was phased out, as mandated by the 2009 Department of Energy General Service Lamp legislation. Given these changes, along with the elimination of many T12 magnetic ballasts - and  the lucrative incentives being offered through local utilities (ComEd) and the DCEO should compel many Illinois facilities to look into lighting upgrades now, while these incentives last. Be sure to ask us about the available Federal energy savings tax credits through EPAct2005.
Connexion T12 Phase Out FAQ

The supply and financial impact to facilities
The National Lighting Bureau (NLB) estimates that nearly 500 million (already obsolete) T12 lamps are still installed in commercial, industrial, institutional, and other non-residential lighting systems nationwide. The specific types of T12 lamps that will begin disappearing in July 2012 include:

  • Most F40 and F34T12 lamps and almost all FB40 and FB34T12 U-lamps
  • All 75W F96T12 lamps
  • All 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
  • All 95W F96T12/ES/HO, unless they can provide at least 8,740 lumens

DOE: Commercial electrical usage by technologyAccording to the DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lighting in industrial and commercial buildings accounts for close to 71 percent of overall lighting electricity use in the U.S. and consumes nearly 35 percent of the electricity used in the nation's commercial buildings - and still much of this lighting is inefficient linear fluorescents. Amongst all energy efficient measures available to a commercial facility, lighting being one of the biggest energy hogs offer the shortest payback and strongest return on investment (followed closely by HVAC measures).

From a supply chain perspective
Dwindling supplies and higher costsFacilities currently using conventional T12 fluorescent systems will need to update their systems sooner rather than later if for no other reason to ensure a supply of replacement ballasts, sockets and lamps when needed. Decreased supply of T12 components will also drive higher costs. This decreased supply is a particular concern for facilities, considering that nearly 30 percent of all fluorescent lamps sold in the United States are T12s. It's worth noting that in addition to the fluorescent lamps affected by this legislation, the electromagnetic ballasts that are most commonly used for 4-ft.- and 8-ft.-long T12 fluorescent systems were also impacted by this legislation and have not been manufactured for sale in the U.S. since July 2010. You can still buy T12 lamps, until the available supply is exhausted. However, the price of T12 lamps has been increasing as the supply diminishes.

From a cost saving perspective
We'll help you calculate your savingsIn a typical T12 to T8 4-lamp retrofit application, depending on the actual lamp and ballast combination used, you can realize a 35 to 45% reduction in energy usage. With these typical savings examples it becomes a simple matter to quantify the cost of waiting. Elsewhere on this site we address the typical paybacks you can expect from lighting upgrades and available incentives. It's also important to remind that with more efficient lighting comes lower cooling costs. Less efficient fixtures emanate heat which can be significant enough to cause an extra load to cool, raising the cost and energy usage to cool a building. Lower maintenance costs are also a significant benefit. Newer more efficient lamps last much longer than their predecessors. They require fewer replacements and, therefore, fewer trips and time by maintenance crews up the ladders or expensive reach-trucks to replace lamps. If you decide on a wait-and-see strategy you will likely incur increased costs in keeping existing lighting systems operating efficiently, and you will continue to miss the opportunity to realize significant energy savings - and reduction in daily operating costs.

Key financial benefits to explore:

  • Utilities in more than 30 states continue to offer rebates for reducing kilowatt hours via equipment and/or energy reduction measures.
  • The federal Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction offers an accelerated tax deduction up to $0.30-$0.60/sq.ft. for lighting upgrades under its Lighting Rule (www.lightingtaxdeduction.org).

Several corrective actions are available
Several retrofit and upgrade options availableIf your facility is still operating with these older, less efficient T12 lamps and magnetic ballasts, you can make an immediate impact by any of a number of upgrade or retrofit alternatives. These include replacing the existing magnetic ballasts with electronic ballasts; modifying the fixtures to accept T8 lamps and electronic ballasts; and replacing the existing fixtures altogether, relying on more efficient T8 or T5 units with electronic ballasts, or, if appropriate, an entirely different technology.

 Regardless of which path you take to upgrade, remember to implement these basic lighting design best practices:


  • Match the amount and quality of light to the performed function.
  • Install task lights where needed and reduce ambient light elsewhere.
  • Take full advantage of energy-efficient lighting components, controls, and dimming systems.
  • Maximize the use of daylighting


 The differences in linear fluorescent lamps
Learn more about the differences between linear lamp typesMost of the T12 and standard T8 fluorescent lamps that will be eliminated can be replaced with more efficient T8 lamps equipped with electronic ballasts. These alternatives are up to 40 percent more energy-efficient than the older products, they last longer, and offer better color rendition. T8 lamps are thinner and are manufactured using less rare earth materials than T12 lamps which in turn, reduces environmental impact during production and at end-of-life disposal. Given the innate lumen differences between T12, T8 and T5 lamps, delamping or a reduction in the total number of fixtures (needed to produce the same lumen output) can be part of a larger upgrade strategy. For example, in most cases, a two-lamp luminaire using T5 high output (T5 HO) lamps produces more light than a three-lamp luminaire using T8 lamps.

Standard T8 lamps are the same length (48 in.) as standard T12 lamps and can fit in most T12 lampholders. The existing lampholders should be checked and replaced as needed during retrofits. Standard T5 lamps are shorter in length (46 in.) than T12 lamps (48 in.) and in most instances are not as easy to retrofit in existing fixtures as T8 lamps.

More about Lumens
Learn more about lumens per wattT12 lamps lose about 14% of their light output over the first 40% of its life, whereas the T8 only loses only 5% of its light output. After the first 40% of life, the standard T12 lamp produces 2,300 design lumens and the T8 produces 2,660 design lumens. Both T5 and T5 high output (T5 HO) lamps maintain a higher light output than T12 and most T8 lamps. Manufacturers claim that T5 and T5 HO lamps retain more than 95% of light output at 8,000 burning hours (40% of rated average life). There are of course other criteria other than the a lamp's design lumen output to consider when upgrading, such as, work environment, task lighting needs, daylighting opportunities, ROI goals and more. Not only is a lighting upgrade fiscally sound, a properly designed system enables improved aesthetics, increased productivity, and has even been proven to have positive effects on physical and emotional well being.

Your connection to the facts and technical expertise
Let us plan your energy efficient lighting upgradeOur energy and lighting design teams have been helping commercial businesses and public sector entities stay in front of this supply chain issue by providing the correct technical solutions that deliver significant energy savings and strong ROI while providing improved light quality. We are available to assist in you in any or all aspects of your lighting upgrade.


T12 Resources & Downloads 

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Incandescent Lamp Phase Out

Incandecent lamp choices

Incandescent, Halogen, CFL

Making sense of the available technology, incentives and energy savings.


incandescent rulingIn 2007, the U.S. Congress adopted energy efficiency standards for new screw-based light bulbs. Beginning in 2012, these standards will phase out the inefficient incandescent light bulb that dates back more than 125 years, and require new bulbs to use 25 to 30 percent less energy.

As there are more than 4 billion screw-based sockets in the United States, the transition to more efficient light bulbs will provide significant, wide-reaching benefits. More so than with the aforementioned fluorescent lamp regulation, the incandescent ruling ushers in a wide array of lamp choices; LED, compact fluorescent (CFL) and halogen. Unfortunately along with these choices comes all the usual marketing hype; unrealistic lamp-life claims, redundant technologies and confusion in the marketplace. LED lamps have certainly garnered the most market attention. In order to enable informed decisions on your LED lamp choices, we have put together a special resource page expressly addressing the LED market.

Connexion's Energy Solution team has helped many Chicago area businesses make the transition from inefficient T12 and incandescent lamps to more cost effective, energy friendly technologies - all while capitalizing on all standard and limited time incentives. Please use the contact form on this page to learn more.

Below is our list of resources addressing the E.I.S.A. Incandescent mandates:

Incandescent Lamp Phase Out: Resources 

Frequently Asked Questions: Lighting Choices to Save You Money 



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