Overall sales of fluorescent lamps are declining due to regulation and changing technology. While energy regulations have eliminated product offerings, linear fluorescent lamps are also facing competition from LED tube lamps, or TLEDs. Once considered inadvisable due to high cost and complicated installation requirements, TLEDs have become significantly more commonplace as prices decrease and products are developed with better compatibility to existing fixtures.
Strict regulation has continued to reduce sales of T12 lamps, showing a year-over-year decrease of 39.5% and maintaining the downward trend exhibited throughout the past five quarters. As T12 lamps are driven into obsolescence by the 2012 legislation, TLED alternatives are gaining popularity for their high energy efficiency. Compared to a T12 lamp and ballast, TLEDs generate double the lumens per watt, last three times as long, deliver 13% more light per tube, and reduce energy use by nearly 40%.
T8 lamps suffered a similar—though less severe—sales decline, dropping by 21.7%. T8 lamps are more efficient than T12, offering improvements in color characteristics while the reduced diameter lessens the amount of light trapped within the luminaire. But again, when placed side-by-side the T8 LEDs exhibit 30% more efficiency than their linear fluorescent counterparts and contain no mercury.
The year-over-year downturn for T5 lamps was by far the least extreme, showing a decrease of 14.8%. T5 lamps and specifically T5HO lamps are energy efficient and work extremely well in high bay applications. T5HO luminaires increase system efficiency by using less power themselves and also through the elimination of strobe and ballast hum by operating at very high frequencies. T5H0 uses electronic ballasts exclusively, which are lighter in weight and smaller in size than electromagnetic ballasts. While T5HO high bay luminaires will face increased competition in 2015 from LED high bays, T5HO remains less expensive on a lumens per dollar basis.