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United States Energy Legislation

In 1988 and 1992, two significant laws were passed that banned the manufacture and distribution of magnetic ballasts and certain fluorescent lamps that had for many years served as a workhorse for commercial lighting applications.

The laws were passed because technology made new energy-efficient choices readily available and because a reduction in national energy consumption was perceived as in the public interest, both for the conservation of fossil fuels and to reduce air pollution.

Federal Ballast Energy Law
The Federal Ballast Energy Law (Public Law 100-357) was enacted in 1988 as part of the National Appliance Energy Conservation Amendments (NAECA '88).

The law set minimum ballast efficacy standards for four major fluorescent lamp types that represented some 85% of all installed fluorescent ballasts.

As of 1991, ballasts submitted for testing by the U.S. Department of Energy and complying with NAECA '88 provisions carry an 'E' symbol on their labels. Ballasts exempt from NAECA included dimming ballasts and ballasts used in areas where ambient temperatures reach 0°F or lower.

The new "standard" magnetic ballast is what is called a premium magnetic ballast, which increases efficiency to meet NAECA requirements. Other options include cathode cut-out ("hybrid") ballasts and electronic ballasts.

National Energy Policy Act
In 1992, President Bush signed the National Energy Policy Act, comprehensive energy legislation that initiated deregulation of the electric utility industry, banned the manufacture and distribution of several major fluorescent lamp types, and set minimum efficacy standards for a variety of PAR and R incandescent lamps.

Major fluorescent lamps that are no longer manufactured, with available alternatives, are shown in the table below.

Major Fluorescent Lamp Types Affected by EPACT '92

No Longer Manufactured Available Alternatives
40W F40T12 (CW and WW) 40W and 34W triphosphor F40T12 lamps (69 CRI)
34W halophosphor F40T12/ES CW or WW lamps
F40T10 lamps
F32T8 lamps (requiring a compatible ballast)
75W F96T12 (CW and WW) 75W and 60W triphosphor F96T12 (69 CRI)
60W halophosphor F96T12 CW or WW
F96T8 lamps (requiring a compatible ballast)
110W F96T12/HO (CW and WW) 110W and 95W triphosphor F96T12/HO (69 CRI)
95W halophosphor F96T12/HO CW or WW
F96T8/HO lamps (requiring a compatible ballast)

EPACT '92 also set minimum efficacy standards for incandescent PAR and R lamps. These standards are shown in the table below.

Minimum Efficacy Standards for Incandescent PAR and R Lamps
Nominal Lamp
Input Wattage
Minimum Average Lamp
Efficacy (Lumens per Watt)
40-50 W 10.5 LPW 
51-66 W 11.0 LPW
67-85W 12.5 LPW
86-115 W 14.0 LPW
116-155W 14.5 LPW
156-205 W 15.0 LPW