New T8 Fluorescent Lamp Regulations Take Effect January 2018

The Energy Policy Act of 1992 gave the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) authority to establish energy efficiency rules governing general service fluorescent lighting.

In 2012, the DOE standards effectively eliminated most T12 fluorescent lamps and 700 series, low color rendering (CRI below 80) T8 lamps.

The DOE rule-making affected the manufacturers initially – distributors and resellers were allowed to sell existing inventory. Today, almost all linear fluorescent general service lighting on the market is T8 or T5 800 / 900 series (CRI 80 /90 or higher).

In 2015, DOE added modest improvements to earlier regulations. Lamps affected include fluorescent 4 foot T8, T5, T5HO and 2 foot U-bent lamps. The efficiency increases for T8 are 1% to 4%, for T5 from 7% to 10%. All of these increases are within the current technology capability of the industry and many lamps already comply.

The most common category of T8 lamps, the 4-foot medium bipin, must now achieve an efficacy of 92.5 lm/W – a 3.8% increase over the previous efficiency standard.

See the USDOE chart below for other T8 lamp category efficacy requirements.


Fluorescent T8 25W, 28W and 30W, often used today as an energy advantage substitute for the common 32W T8, currently comply. However, many 32W lamps have either been re-engineered or discontinued by the manufactures.

Most current fluorescent T5 linear lamps already comply with the new standards.

The 2015 rule-making takes effect in January of 2018. This 3-year window allowed manufacturers to adjust their product lines to comply. Distributors and resellers can continue to sell pre-2015 standard fluorescent lamps until inventories are gone.

As has always been the case with the DOE energy standards for lighting, certain lamp categories are exempt. Compliance is not required for lamps used for: horticulture, cold temperature applications, impact/shatter prone applications, cold temperature installations, UV lamps, color critical applications requiring CRI 87 or higher and a couple other specialty lighting categories.

Read the complete DOE regulations.

Shop 2015 Energy Standard Compliant T8 Fluorescent Lamps

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Dave Burtner

Dave has been active in the lighting industry since 1994. Formerly a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and certified by the National Council On Qualifications for Lighting Professionals, Dave now writes blog posts, lighting tips and provides lighting product assistance for the Topbulb website.

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