Product Spotlight: Improved and Approved T8 Fluorescent Bulbs

fluorescent lights overhead in aisle of school library

You may or may not have heard of the demise of the workhorse F32T8 700 series fluorescent tubes. It could be the answer to a trivia question. But the product spotlight this week explains why it is so and features an excellent replacement lamp.

On July 14, 2014, new Federal government legislation kicked-in requiring higher lumen per watt efficiencies for common T8 lamps found in classrooms, offices and institutional applications. The installed base of one of the lamps on the banned list, four-foot 32 watt T8 tubes with a CRI in the 70 range (that’s where the 700 series term comes from), outranks almost any other type of light bulb installed in the U.S.

Walk into any classroom, look up and you’ll likely see rows and rows of lensed troffer fixtures. There is a very good chance the light bulbs inside are 32W 700 series tubes, 3 or 4 bulbs per fixture. These bulbs are found in hospital rooms, healthcare facilities, offices of all types, maybe even in your kitchen or garage.

So what’s the big deal? The difference between the approved and banned lamps amounts to about 5% higher lumen per watt output with 800 series vs. 700 series. That may not sound like much, but given the numbers we’re talking, it amounts to a significant improvement in efficiency. Perhaps more important for the user, the quality of light is much better and may have a positive impact on students and employee health and productivity.

The higher color rendering of the 800 series lamps is another improvement over the phased-out bulbs. Around your house, if you replace undercabinet 700 series T8s with 800 series, your apples and bananas in the fruit bowl will look more appetizing than ever. Of course, if your kitchen is stocked only with candy and pie, the more appealing look of the food may cause rapid weight gain — be forewarned!

If you are a building manager or a homeowner, here’s how to know what you are currently using. Pull a bulb out of the fixture and look at the end for a description printed on the glass. If you see something similar to F32T8/741 or F32T8/SP41 you have a bulb that is going away. Focus on the “7” and the “SP”. They mean the same thing – 700 series or 70+ color rendering index (CRI).

The lamp descriptions that meet the new requirements looked like this: F32T8/841 or F32T8/SPX41. The “8” and the “SPX” mean the CRI is in the 80+ range. You get more lumens per watt and better color quality.

The product spotlight this week is on an excellent example of 800 series quality with the added benefit of extra long rated life.

Key Features:

fluorescent tube lamps

  • Long life of 36,000 Hours
  • Higher CRI than bulb it is designed to replace for more vibrant colors
  • Not banned! No need to stock up on this new lamp.
  • Uses only 32W
  • Cool white 4,100K color temperature

main image © nokeybrary / Flickr Commercial License

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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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