Incandescents Aren’t The Only Bulb Being Phased Out
As many of you know incandescent light bulbs are going the way of the dinosaurs, extinct. It started with indoor floodlights and at the end of this year; 100-Watt incandescent light bulbs will no longer be available.
Many people are not aware of another important date – July 14th, 2012. This will mark the end of another commonly used light bulb, both the T12 and the T8 fluorescent tubes are being discontinued. The 4-foot T12 and the slightly skinnier 4-foot T8 are two of the most commonly used bulb in America. You probably have a few in your home right now. These are the same lamps that offices, schools, kitchens and garages all use. The government set these new guidelines for some of the fluorescent tubes that weren’t meeting the new requirements and therefore will be discontinued.
What does this mean for you as a consumer? Simply put, the cost of these tubes will be going up. When you walk it to the hardware store and ask for a four-foot tube you probably get a F34/T12/CW, the most commonly used fluorescent today. However, on July 14, 2012, you will be forced to buy the more expensive deluxe model, the F34/T12/CWX, and it will cost you an additional $3.50 more per lamp.
The reason for this change is the government’s new standard for requiring all four-foot and two-foot fluorescent tubes to have a Color Rendering Index (CRI) over 80. What is CRI? It is the method for describing the effect a light source has on the color appearance of an object – the higher the CRI the better the light. Typically fluorescent tubes for common household and office spaces had a CRI of 70. The government sees it as using the same wattage and getting a better light, making the 80 CRI tube more energy-efficient. The 80 CRI tubes have always been available to buy, but unless you were a photographer or displaying jewelry, you would have had no reason to spend $5.95 on a 4-foot tube when the 70 CRI tubes are 99 cents at your local hardware store.
What does this mean for the LED industry? With the price of LEDs going down and the price of fluorescents going up, the Return On Investment (ROI) will be that much faster. LEDs have no lead or toxic mercury and there are no disposal costs. LEDs also last at least 5 times as long as the best quality fluorescent tubes. This means you won’t be changing bulbs and ballasts ever again once making the switch to LEDs. Another added benefit is that your maintenance costs drop dramatically.
Currently available as an alternative to the T8 fluorescent tube is the Philips EnduraLED T8 Tube. It is 40% more efficient than the traditional T8 tubes and does not emit any UV rays. Philips even backs it up with a 4-year warranty on the lamp.
With an LED lamp available for almost any retrofit project, the future for LED lighting keeps looking brighter and brighter everyday. Don’t you think it’s time to make the switch?