Addressing the T5 & T8 fluorescent tube ban 2023
As of September 2023, revisions made to the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive dictate that new lamps being manufactured cannot contain mercury.
With mercury being regarded as a hazardous substance, its use in lighting equipment started being restricted and phased out from 1995, when the RoHS came into effect.
And as less harmful lighting technologies continued to be developed, more energy-efficient lighting sources have become available that contain little to no mercury.
This latest change has been a long time coming, being part of the UK’s journey towards a net zero future. But what does this mean for businesses that are still reliant upon this type of lighting?
Here, Simon Concar, managing director of adi Electrical, a division of leading multi-disciplinary UK engineering firm adi Group, discusses the best way for businesses to move forward in light of the new regulations.
Under the new directive, previous exemptions for T5 and T8 fluorescent lamps, compact fluorescent lamps and special-purpose lamps have now been revoked.
This means that the production of fluorescent tubes will have to stop entirely, with the exception of HPD lamps and special-purpose lamps, which may be produced for another 3-5 years.
However, the sale and use of stock products will still be allowed. Effectively, this means that T5 and T8 lamps will be harder to come by and no doubt increase in price.
And while it will still be possible to buy remaining stock, this is bound to run out sooner rather than later, meaning this is not a long-term solution for businesses. With as much as 40% of companies still using T8 fluorescent lamps, this is an opportunity for business owners to look towards more energy-efficient alternatives.
LEDs are widely regarded as the most favourable alternative, being an environmentally friendly, energy-efficient lighting source that is highly durable and reliable. On average, LEDs are estimated to last around 50,000 hours, approximately 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
Businesses that have yet to start their transition to LED lighting should doubtlessly consider making the switch now to both save on energy and costs.
LED alternatives provide energy-efficient and cost-effective T5 and T8 tubes that require significantly less energy compared to fluorescent lamps, resulting in savings of up to 80% in energy costs. Additionally, they don’t use any toxic substances, making them more eco-friendly than other light sources.
After its halogen light ban in September 2021, and in view of the upcoming fluorescent light bulb ban, the UK Government estimated that a shift to LED bulbs would cut 1.26 million tonnes of CO2 per year, making this a worthy investment for businesses from an ESG viewpoint, too.
The initial cost of LED lighting may seem discouraging at first glance. However, its significantly longer lifespan and improved energy efficiency results in significant cost savings in the long run, with these paying for themselves in just a few years.
To ascertain the potential impact of making a switch to LEDs, businesses can enlist the help of electrical engineering experts who can correctly advise on how to implement it in the most cost-effective way.
adi Electrical can provide full lighting surveys which will not only demonstrate the lux levels that will be achieved, but also the energy savings and compliance to any applicable regulations, such as emergency lighting routes.