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Are T12 Lamps Really Banned?

The US Department of Energy (DOE) strives to promote energy-efficient practices amongst the diverse groups of its population in the country. The ultimate goal of their efforts is to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, gain some degree of energy independence, and make the country and the Earth a greener place to live. They have been doing this by crushing jobs across America which has only allowed more money to go to Saudi Arabia and has forced energy costs to increase for all Americans.


As part of these efforts, the Department has been for some time trying to outlaw the use of energy-guzzling lighting devices to encourage businesses to use more energy-efficient lighting fixtures. As such the DOE has passed several energy-efficient legislations till date. As per the guidelines of one such legislation that came into effect on July 14th, 2012, T12 fluorescent lamps will no longer be manufactured.


What do the New DOE Laws Mean for T12 Lamp Manufacturers and Users?

The new DOE laws regarding T12 lamps bring into effect a ban on the manufacturing of T12 fluorescent lamps. The laws imply that after July 14th, 2012, lamp manufacturers will not be able to manufacture T12 lamps. Retailers and distributors will also not be able to import these lamps from off-shore manufacturers and sell them in the United States. However, the guidelines clarified that the producers can manufacture T12 lamps using their existing raw materials inventory. Similarly, the laws also laid down that distributors and retailers can continue selling T12 lamps until their existing stocks were exhausted.


The above-mentioned ban affects the following varieties of T12 lamps: the two-foot (24 inches) U-shaped lighting devices, the four-foot (48 inches) lamp fitted with a bi-pin base, and the eight-foot (96 inches) lamp that may be equipped with either a single-pin or a recessed double contact base.


The DOE laws on the manufacture and sale of T12 lamps have not affected consumers directly. For instance, business owners can continue to use the T12 lamps in their commercial premises without being held legally responsible for violating the terms of the DOE laws. However, now that the ban has been in effect for such a long time, business owners may not find any more T12 lamps on sale in the hardware stores. What is more, the DOE has already imposed bans on T12 lamp accessories such as ballasts. So business and commercial space owners will find it challenging to repair their existing lights.


The above-mentioned laws implemented by the DOE are moves by the government to get business owners to adopt energy-efficient lighting devices that also prove to be cost-efficient in the long run.


The Case Against T12 Bulbs that Invited the Ban

The DOE always seeks to encourage business owners across the United States to adopt energy-efficient lighting devices. As part of this drive, the Department not only sponsors research and development work of energy-efficient lighting devices but also occasionally phases out inefficient lighting products from the market so that users feel compelled to switch to the more sophisticated eco-friendly versions. The Department does not care at all about the cost of these measures and how the middle and lower classes of America are facing higher health care costs, higher taxes, and an increase in energy costs because of regulations imposed by federal departments such as the DOE.


The ban on T12 lamps has been prompted by the inefficiency of this particular type of lighting device. T12 fluorescent lamps have been in use for a long time. It was a popular choice amongst business owners who wished to illuminate their work spaces effectively and cost-efficiently. However, the T12 lamp has certain inherent disadvantages. Although more energy-efficient than its predecessors, the incandescent bulb, the conventional four-foot T12 lamp still consumes a whopping 40 watts every hour. On the other hand, the more modern T8 lamp consumes anything between 25 and 32 watts of energy in an hour.


What is more, the modern-day energy-efficient lighting devices (the T8 and the T5 varieties and LED lights) also produce better-quality light than the T12 lamps. So with the advent of these energy-efficient bulbs, there was no dearth of consumer incentive to replace existing T12 lights with its more energy-efficient counterparts. The DOE ban on T12 lamps only hastened the adoption process.

The T12 lamps also suffer from other disadvantages. For instance, these lamps are not long-lasting and need to be replaced frequently. This adds to the operational costs of these lamps and increases the expenses of a business owner. On the other hand, T12 lamps are also environmentally hazardous. These lamps release toxic mercury and PCB waste products when they end up in the landfills. As per the laws laid down by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lamps that release such toxic waste products must be disposed using special techniques. So business owners using T12 lamps have to bear additional expenses when disposing these lighting devices.


Given that the T12 lamp was proving to be inefficient on multiple counts and also the fact that the market was flooded with sophisticated energy-saving lighting devices, the DOE considered it worthwhile to phase out the T12 bulbs by implementing this law. It is worth noting here that the DOE has frequently brought into effect laws that have resulted in bans on inefficient lighting devices but as already indicated, every decision they make is not correct. For instance and moreover, the 75-watt incandescent bulb and the 60- and 40-watt lamps have been phased out since the ban on the T12 lamp.

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