Energy Efficient Lighting Upgrades Soon Mandatory

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SmartWatt Energy, Inc. announces that T-12 fluorescent lighting, commonly identified by half-dollar diameter tubes that flicker and hum while in the ‘on’ position, will no longer be available for commercial use after July 2012.

This July, U.S. lighting manufacturers will cease production on T-12 lamps to comply with an energy efficient lighting mandate released by the Department of Energy (DOE) designed to remove this outdated lighting technology from the marketplace. The mandate required magnetic ballasts, used in T-12 fixtures, to be phased out of production in July 2010.

It is estimated by the National Lighting Bureau (NLB) that more than 500 million T-12 lamps are still in use in commercial, industrial and other non-residential facilities. Despite this continued use, T-12 lamps are considered an outdated technology and are extremely energy inefficient, with shorter lives, poor color rendering and low lighting output when compared to more efficient alternatives, such as T-8 or T-5 fluorescents. Retrofitting from a T-12 to a T-8 or T-5 fluorescent lighting system is very simple and can reduce energy consumption by up to 45%, producing substantial energy cost savings and a payback period between one and three years. These energy efficiency upgrades may also qualify for tax deductions and utility rebates, further reducing the payback period and initial capital outlay.

Commercial and industrial facilities that have yet to upgrade from T-12 lamps should expect price increases as the July phase out deadline nears, and demand for T-12 lamps rises.


SmartWatt Energy, Inc., is a leading nationwide provider of turnkey energy-efficiency solutions. SmartWatt Energy is dedicated to lowering businesses’ operational costs through energy-reduction strategies. SmartWatt Energy provides whole building energy assessments and implements lighting retrofits, VFD upgrades, control system enhancements, ECM upgrades and more to help commercial, industrial, government and utility customers meet their sustainability goals. SmartWatt Energy’s energy-efficiency services include construction-grade energy audits, value-engineered designs, self-performed installations, utility incentive procurement, facilitation of EPAct 2005 tax deductions and maintenance support. For more information, visit

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Danielle Marquis
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