Preparing for Oregon’s Ban on Fluorescent Lighting

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Last updated: June 6, 2024

Oregon 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 and 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).

Oregon joined that list in June 2023, as state lawmakers passed House Bill 2531, 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, 2024.
  • 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.

What does the Oregon fluorescent ban mean for rebates and incentives?

As LED becomes standardized across the state, Energy Trust of Oregon has announced sunset dates to their current incentive programs that provide funding for fluorescent to LED lighting replacements. Here are the announced changes:

  • Incentives for replacing screw-in CFLs will end on July 1, 2024.
  • Incentives for replacing linear fluorescent lighting and pin-style CFLs will be available until July 1, 2025.
  • Most standard lighting incentives will remain in place through December 31, 2024.

Energy incentives have historically been an extremely valuable resource for LED lighting retrofits, allowing businesses to access funds that often cover substantial portions of the total project cost. Commercial and industrial spaces that have not yet transitioned to LED should look into capitalizing on these programs while they are still in place. ETO plans to hit its future funding programs towards areas like lighting controls, exterior lighting, and process lighting.

Contact us to secure incentives!

Not only are LED incentive programs ending, but funds are demand-based and may run out. Our in-house team of incentive specialists will manage the entire process for you to ensure that you maximize on potential funds available for your project.

How impacted businesses can prepare for impending bans

Retrofitting existing fixtures to accommodate new technologies, such as LED, can represent a daunting investment — but it can also be a major opportunity if handled with care and long-term consideration. Finding the right LED upgrade your facility can reduce energy spending by up to 80%, provide payback periods of under 3 years, slash carbon emissions, and dramatically improve the safety and overall environment for employees! Here are some key things to keep in mind to maximize on your LED transition:

Consider optics and grid design

Beyond the ability to provide more light with less energy, modern LED technology has an improved ability to direct light, leveraging sophisticated optics to distribute light throughout a space in the most energy efficient manner. Settling for 1:1 fixture replacements may lead to excessive energy consumption, over-lighting your space, and create “hot spots” that lead to visibility challenges for employees.

LED-Lighting-optics-overview

It is recommended for businesses to work with an experienced lighting designer to audit their space and provide a photometric design plan. This will ensure you implement a system that provides OSHA compliant and consistent light using the least amount of energy.

Be cautious of TLED replacements

Tubular LED technology can be traced back to the early 2000s at a time where the development of white LEDs made it possible to use LEDs for general lighting. 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 concerns with TLED bulb swaps.

Dangers of TLED Upgrades

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.

See some of the cautionary TLED tales in our blog here »

Don’t overpay for subpar quality

As LED has become increasingly more affordable to manufacture, the LED market has become incredibly saturated with new-entrant brands that over-promise and under-deliver. In fact, many manufacturers will offer the same performance criteria on the spec sheet, have a price tag that reflects top-shelf performance, but never have been actually battle-tested in the field — ultimately leading to failures and performance issues down the road.

A big advantage of working with a solution expert like PEC is that we work with clients as a vendor agnostic service provider. This means that when we design a project, we put together a mix of lumen package options and walk our clients through the pros and cons of each. We help you correlate price and performance, incorporating quality-assured fixture options that we have been used in our experience of over +8,000 projects.

Understand your ROI options before you invest

LED lighting retrofits make for attractive investments because you can confidently predict your future energy savings and cashflows.

LED Lighting Proposal Options - Good, Better, Best

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.

Prepare your business for a fluorescent-free future with PEC

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.

Headquartered just across the Columbia River in Vancouver, WA – we have extensive experience working with C&I facilities throughout the state of Oregon to help them implement custom LED lighting solutions that maximize efficiency and transform their working environment.

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