Are you searching everywhere for a mercury vapor luminaire? Unfortunately, you’re out of luck. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 prohibited the importing or manufacturing of mercury-vapor ballasts or luminaires after January 1, 2008.

Mercury vapor lighting has been around forever—so why should you stop using it now?

Alternative HID lamps, like metal halides, are far more efficient and produce a superior light quality. Mercury vapor lighting is not only inefficient, but has a poor color-rendering index and produces an unpleasant blue or green light. Before the ban, the ballast had been decreasing in its share of the market and replaced by alternative lighting options.

Mercury vapor lamps have rapid lumen depreciation and continue to burn on but never burn out. While this may seem like a benefit, it can put out as little as 10% of its initial lumen output while still using 100% of the electricity. On the other hand, metal halide lamps burn out at the end of their lives, alerting someone that it’s time for a replacement. Essentially, a mercury vapor lamp can continue to burn on and waste an excessive amount of energy without serving a purpose.

For example, a 175 watt mercury vapor puts out about 6,800 mean lumens while a 100 watt metal halide puts out 5,800 mean lumens. Even without considering the rapid lumen depreciation, MV uses 75% more energy to produce almost the same amount of light. By using more energy, you’re wasting money.

If you’re looking to replace a mercury vapor lamp, they can typically be replaced with a metal halide or pulse start metal halide luminaire using significantly less energy. And as the price of LED falls and efficacy rises, the decision to switch to super energy-efficient LED lighting is becoming the obvious choice.