Commercial lighting staple fades out

Information taken from an article by Michael W. Kahn | ECT Staff Writer Published: July 17th, 2012

July 14, 2012, marked the end of the road for American production of the T12. Its fate was sealed five years earlier, when the bipartisan Energy Independence and Security Act was signed into law.

It bans manufacture of the T12s that are as commonplace in commercial buildings as water fountains. In 2010, it became illegal to make the ballasts used for T12s.

“It’s one of those things that I think is going to go by with barely a notice until somebody’s light burns out and it’s time to replace it,” said Alan Shedd, director, residential and commercial energy programs at Touchstone Energy®.

“Ultimately, the best thing is to do a lighting upgrade. Take them out and replace them with more efficient T8s or T5s, or some of the other lighting technologies that are becoming available,” Shedd said. “The savings from doing a lighting upgrade should be compelling enough.”

Eric Marsh, senior marketing manager at Philips Lighting, noted that there are LED options that will improve the lighting and run cooler. Some can even fit in the same socket as the T12s.

The nonprofit National Lighting Bureau estimates some 500 million T12 lamps are installed nationwide. John Bachner, executive director, said the figure is based on manufacturers’ sales figures and takes into account typical lamp failure rates.

Shedd warned that hoarding T12s isn’t a very good idea; nor is sticking your head in the sand.

“It’s only going to get worse,” Shedd said. “The supplies are going to decrease. The costs are going to go up. Dealing with it now heads off future expense.”

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