Where Oh Where Have The Fluorescent Light Bulbs Gone?

First the regular old light bulbs we’ve always used in our homes began disappearing out of stores. Now you may be noticing that getting your commercial building’s fluorescent bulbs replaced is becoming more and more difficult. Where have all the fluorescents gone?

US Department of Energy (DOE) regulations began phasing out various sizes of commercial fluorescent light bulbs in 2012. About all you can get today is the fluorescent workhorse of commercial lighting—the T81  bulb.

By January 26, 2018 even T8s will be banned to align with new DOE energy efficiency standards. Back in 2012 it was estimated that 20% of all commercial buildings and up to 44% of industrial buildings were using T8s.

Why is this happening? The DOE is faced with an aging energy grid, a growing population, and tremendous pressure to make US energy more sustainable. Lighting energy is over 30% of most businesses energy consumption. Significant reduction of energy consumption in this area could stretch existing resources considerably. So it’s safe to say that more changes are on the way.

If you are a commercial or industrial building owner you may find yourself suddenly posing these questions to yourself:

  • Should we be planning a whole-scale lighting retrofit to more energy efficient bulbs?
  • Is LED the best way to go? It has a higher initial replacement cost, but reduced energy use. And it’s less likely to fall victim to further DOE regulations in the next 10 years.
  • How will LED change the quality of light in our space?
  • How easily can new fixtures accommodate retrofit situations?
  • Can LED bulbs replace various different types of bulbs in my facility?

Here at CES we have relationships with LED manufacturers that are on the cutting edge of the state of the art and striving always to be steps ahead of DOE regulations.

We can help you decide if this is the right time to upgrade to LED lighting. We can also help you understand how the quality of light will change in your space. It’s interesting to note that the moment fluorescent bulbs are installed, they begin their degradation process. In other words, over the life of the bulb, the quality of light is constantly gradually lessening. You’ll often notice that near the bulb’s end of life, fluorescents are much dimmer than when they were new. This does not happen with LEDs.


We can also help you determine if only your bulbs need to be replaced or if you need whole fixtures replaced. I know it sounds scary, but it’s not that big of a deal in reality. We can handle it!

LEDs come in an unbelievable variety of shapes, sizes, and brightnesses that cover everything from decorative requirements to hard core industrial issues.

changing-fluorescent-bulbsIn most cases, changing to LED bulbs can be as easy as “changing a light bulb.” If you have fluorescent 4’ tubes with electronic ballasts, we have a 4’ LED tube that is so easy to install—simply remove the old fluorescent bulb and install the new LED bulb!

And there’s more, energy savings are about 14 watts per tube. If you have 50 4’ fixtures with 4 tubes in each fixture and the lights are on 10 hours per day, you will save $2,735 per year!

Call us today and we will do an in-depth analysis of your commercial or industrial lighting situation. The funny thing about an LED retrofit is that you are already spending the money. When upgrading to LED you simply redirect what you are already spending. It’s truly very little out-of-pocket and often actually leaves you with a positive cash flow!

Contact Jeannine Hall at 844-277-0043 or email her at jhall@cesstaff.com.

1 T8: The T stands for Tubular or Tube. The 8 indicates the tube diameter is 8 one-eighth-inch increments, which stated in math terms is 8/8, or just another way of saying one. Therefore, the diameter of the tube is one inch.

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CES was founded in 1999 and over the past 22+ years has serviced everything from small mom and pop shops to fortune 500 companies. We represent the largest and most reputable energy suppliers in North America and have an impeccable track record at securing the lowest rates possible.