Say Goodbye to T12 Lamps

Aug. 5, 2010
A clunker-lighting program can help bring your lighting system into the 21st century

Does your facility still use T12 lamps? If so, time is running out to use a cash-for-clunker-lighting program. The National Lighting Bureau (NLB) estimates there are as many as 500 million T12s still in place. However, due to recent regulations, the manufacture and import of T12 magnetic replacement ballasts was prohibited last month, and many T12 lamps will be eliminated by July 2012. 

“People need to get those T12 systems out of their buildings while incentives still are available to help offset their costs,” says Mike Colotti, Vice President of Brand Management and Marketing Communications for OSRAM SYLVANIA, a lighting manufacturer. “Once we reach the point where T12 systems can’t be purchased or maintained, there’ll be no reason to incentivize owners to replace them.”

Despite their continued use, T12s were introduced in 1938 and their performance is inferior to today’s technological standards. Colotti estimates owners are collectively spending about $8 billion or more in energy costs each year to operate T12s, not including any demand charges. According to NLB President Howard P. Lewis, T12 lighting also accounts for some 3,615 pounds of mercury infiltration annually.

The simplest replacements for T12s are one-inch-diameter T8 fluorescent lamps or T5 fluorescent lighting. For example, one T5 high-output lamps can replace two conventional T12s, cutting mercury infiltration by almost 56% and energy bills by up to 26%. Replacing T12s also gives you a wide range of options for control-related energy-saving techniques such as occupancy sensing, dimming, and daylight harvesting, says Coletti.

Using the Commercial Building Tax Deduction (CBTD), owners and managers can derive a tax benefit to help offset the cost of a new lighting system or lighting-system improvement, up to $0.60/square foot. The NLB operates a free service at its www.nlb.org website, listing lighting-system designers throughout the United States, as well as individuals qualified to certify that a given lighting-system design qualifies for a CBTD tax benefit.

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