Preparing for Colorado’s Ban on Fluorescent Lighting

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Last updated: June 18, 2024

Colorado has joined a growing list of U.S. states enacting bans on the future sale or distribution of fluorescent lighting technology. See effective dates, what this means for incentives, and how you can prepare your business.

About the ban on fluorescents in Colorado and the effective dates

A significant shift towards more sustainable lighting options is underway, as an increasing number of states across the U.S. have either enacted or set to officially enact bans on the sale of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and linear fluorescent tubes (T8, T5, T12).

Colorado joined that list, as state lawmakers passed HB23-1161, which sets the effective dates below prohibiting the sale or distribution of fluorescent lighting technologies:

  • The sale or distribution of screw-in or bayonet-base CFLs starting January 1, 2025.
  • The sale of distribution of pin-based CFLs and linear fluorescent lighting starts January 1, 2025.

Why ban fluorescents?

Fluorescent lights contain mercury – which is a toxic heavy metal that is used in CFLs to help them emit light more efficiently.

When CFLs break, that hazardous mercury is released into the environment. Research shows that this takes a substantial toll on both the environment and the health of humans and animals. Mercury also creates serious (and costly) waste disposal challenges.

On top of the mercury concerns, modern technologies like LEDs are substantially more energy efficient and have a longer lifespan – with top-quality LED fixtures offering rated lifespans of 100,000+ hours.

These factors contribute to the growing consensus that moving away from fluorescent lighting is both an environmental imperative and an economic advantage, leading to the current wave of statewide bans.

How impacted businesses can prepare for impending bans

While a lighting project may seem daunting, LED systems offer substantial energy savings (reductions as high as 70-80%) while making huge enhancements to your overall working environment when done correctly. Keep these considerations in mind as you begin preparing for an LED future.

Consider optics and grid design

Updating fluorescent fixtures to LED through a 1:1 replacement approach often leaves immense value on the table. Work with a lighting designer to build out a photometric plan that ensures you produce even and consistent light throughout your space, validate that light level standards are met, and that your LED upgrade uses the least amount of energy possible.

Be cautious of TLED replacements

Traditionally designed to be a retrofit replacement for fluorescent tubes in compatible luminaries, LED tubes (TLEDs) were an attractive option offering significant cost and energy savings. When specified and installed correctly, they can reduce electricity consumption by over 50% compared to T8 fluorescent lamp technology.

However, understand the safety and quality concerns with TLED bulb swaps.

We have heard a number of stories from customers who came to us after having bad experiences with TLEDs and substandard LED “solutions” — including severe fires that led to costly production shutdowns.

Perform an energy audit

Lighting energy audits are an essential step for understanding how much energy your lights are consuming, where you need light level improvements, and how an upgrade would impact your space. Audits also allow businesses to determine when they will receive a return on their investment, as well as understand tradeoffs when evaluating different upgrade options.

PEC clients receive a complimentary on-site energy audit as the first step in any project we take on. Request an audit at the link below to see what value is tied up in your lighting system — no commitment is required.

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PEC is North America’s most innovative energy optimization company, helping some of the world’s largest businesses design, develop, and deploy custom energy solutions. Whether working with single sites or expansive portfolios, we exist to help our clients extract full value from every addressable energy opportunity – with ease.

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