Some types of fluorescent lamps are set to be phased out in the UK, presenting British businesses with a forced but timely opportunity to consider the long-term energy cost, efficiency, and quality of their lighting.
The EU has undoubtedly taken the lead on fluorescent lighting, with some fluorescent lamps being phased out through the SLR Ecodesign Regulation (EU) 2019/2020 because they do not meet efficiency requirements - T12 fluorescent lamps were phased out through this ruling in 2021.
Other fluorescent lamps will be phased out through the EU’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHs) directive 2011/65/EU, which aims to restrict the use of specific hazardous substances such as mercury.
In terms of the GB market (England, Scotland and Wales) the UK government is broadly following the EU’s position on all fluorescent lamps, but there are slightly different timescales in some instances. For example, T5 lamps can no longer be placed on the GB market from the 1st February 2024, a timeframe roughly six months later than the EU.
The following lamp types, most common to Whitecroft products, will not be placed on the market in the EU and GB (England, Scotland and Wales) from the dates in the table to the right.
While the fluorescent lamps can continue to be used until stock is exhausted, it is best to look at alternatives and to understand what the various options would mean. These are: don't change, compromise, upgrade and replace.
The main challenge with continuing to purchase T5 lamps is that sourcing lamps and luminaire components will become harder over time.
Some inverter and control gear production has already been phased out, so if your control gear were to fail, your T5 fluorescent lamps would no longer be viable. If you choose to continue using fluorescent lamps, you must consider the following:
A temptation might be to retain the fluorescent lamp fitting and replace just the fluorescent tube with an LED equivalent. Although this could feel like a viable compromise it is not without its risks.
The use of replacement LED tubes may require adaptation of the internal wiring of the luminaire to ensure correct operation. Safety testing would be recommended in-line with BS60598 otherwise your general and emergency lighting may no longer be safety compliant.
You would also need to ensure that the lighting design requirements are still met for both general and emergency lighting.
LED replacement lamps are 20-30% less energy efficient; adapted LED tubes will have shorter lifetimes and often offer shorter warranties, creating the need for increased replacement and disposal versus a new LED fitting.
When factoring in the future availability, safety, and energy efficiency considerations, now is probably the right time to replace fluorescent lighting with LED.
With the cost of energy so high, we calculate that the electricity savings alone could typically deliver a return on your organisation’s investment in just three years, while operational efficiencies will also reduce carbon output.
To further future-proof your replacement LEDs, you may wish to consider Whitecroft’s Vitality range of modular lighting products which incorporate modular or replaceable units that make it easier and more cost effective to upgrade your lighting in the future, while our Vitality Relight approach will evaluate how to repurpose as much of your existing lighting infrastructure.
When factoring in the high cost of electricity, Net Zero targets and decarbonisation of your assets, the phasing out of fluorescent lamps is an opportunity to think longer term return on investment rather than short term fix.
For refurbishment projects, Vitality Relight is the best way for customers to decarbonise their lighting systems and gain the advantages of long-term energy cost savings.
By upgrading an existing installation, regenerating existing assets with sustainable components and reusing as many existing light fittings as possible, Vitality Relight helps organisations minimise waste and reap valuable long-term cost benefits.
For new build projects, Whitecroft Vitality gives customers a circular, Cradle to Cradle Certified® solution that uses only approved materials and components.
Whitecroft Vitality offers a reduced carbon footprint and a stronger return on investment because it can be upgraded in future without the need to fully replace the luminaire. This keeps the product in the economy for additional lifecycles and maximises lifetime value.
With timings for the fluorescent lamp phase out recently confirmed, this guide explains the current legislation and outlines the available options.Download your guide