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Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts

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Manufacturers have been required to comply with the Department of Energy (DOE) energy conservation standards for fluorescent lamp ballasts since 1990. Fluorescent lamp ballasts control electric current flow. As more current flows through a fluorescent lamp, its electrical resistance drops, allowing more current to flow. A fluorescent lamp would overheat if the ballast did not control the flow.

The standards mandatory in 2005 and 2010 will save up to 2.32 quads of energy and result in approximately $10.9 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 2005-2030. The standard will avoid up to 19 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 3.7 million automobiles.

The standard mandatory in 2014 will save approximately 5.6 quads of energy and result in up to $24.1 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 2014-2043. The standard will avoid up to 106 million metric tons metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 57.3 million automobiles.


Recent Updates | Standards | Test Procedures | Waiver, Exception, and Exemption Information | Statutory Authority | Historical Information | Contact Information


Recent Updates

DOE published a final rule regarding energy conservation standards for fluorescent lamp ballasts. 76 FR 70548.


Standards for Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts

The following content summarizes the energy conservations standards for fluorescent lamp ballasts. The text is not an official reproduction of the Code of Federal Regulations and should not be used for legal research or citation.

Current Standard

Fluorescent lamp ballasts manufactured and distributed in commerce, as defined by 42 U.S.C. 6291(16), must meet the energy conservation standards specified in the Code of Federal Regulations 10 CFR 430.32(m). This information is also in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.

For the purpose of this regulation, fluorescent lamp ballast means a device which is used to start and operate fluorescent lamps by providing a starting voltage and current and by limiting the current during normal operation. The fluorescent lamp ballasts that are subject energy conservation standards include ballasts that operate:

  • One F40T12 lamp1
  • Two F96T12 lamps
  • Two F40T12 lamps
  • Two F96T12/ES lamps
  • One F34T12 lamp
  • Two F96T12HO lamps
  • Two F34T12 lamps
  • Two F96T12HO/ES lamps

1"F" stands for "fluorescent" the following number refers to either the wattage or the tube length in inches.

Definitions for several of the covered ballast types are specified in the Code of Federal Regulations at 10 CFR 430.2.

Fluorescent lamp ballasts that are designed to operate at nominal input voltages of 120 or 277 volts; to operate with an input current frequency of 60 Hertz; and for use in connection with an F40T12, F96T12, or F96T12HO lamps shall have a power factor of 0.90 or greater and shall have a ballast efficacy factor not less than the following:.

Table 1. Energy Conservation Standards for Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts that Operate F40T12, F96T12, or F96T12HO Lamps.
Application for operation of Ballast input voltage Total nominal lamp watts Ballast efficacy factor
One F40 T12 lamp 120
277
40
40
2.29
2.29
Two F40 T12 lamps 120
277
80
80
1.17
1.17
Two F96T12 lamps 120
277
150
150
0.63
0.63
Two F96T12HO lamps 120
277
220
220
0.39
0.39

The standards described in the table above do not apply to: (A) a ballast that is designed for dimming to 50 percent or less of its maximum output; (B) a ballast that is designed for use with two F96T12HO lamps at ambient temperatures of -20 °F or less and for use in an outdoor sign; or (C) a ballast that has a power factor of less than 0.90 and is designed and labeled for use only in residential building applications.

The standard also specifies the ballast efficacy factor for fluorescent lamp ballasts that are designed to operate at nominal input voltages of 120 or 277 volts; to operate with an input current frequency of 60 Hertz; and for use in connection with F34T12, F96T12/ES, or F96T12HO/ES lamps; shall have a power factor of 0.90 or greater (or a power factor less than 0.90 if it is designed and labeled for use only in residential applications) and shall have a ballast efficacy factor of not less than the following:

Table 2. Energy Conservation Standards for Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts That Operate F34T12, F96T12/ES, or F96T12HO/ES Lamps.
Application for operation of Ballast input voltage Total nominal lamp watts Ballast efficacy factor
One F34T12 lamp 120/277 34 2.61
Two F34T12 lamps 120/277 68 1.35
Two F96T12/ES lamps 120/277 120 0.77
Two F96T12HO/ES lamps 120/277 190 0.42
  • Final Rule: Standards, Federal Register, 65 FR 56740, September 19, 2000
  • EPACT2005

For further guidance or to submit questions related to the implementation of this standard, visit the Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions page.

Amended Standard

On November 14, 2011, amended standards were issued for fluorescent lamp ballasts. The full text of the amended standard is available in the Code of Federal Regulations at 10 CFR 430.32(m). On November 14, 2014, these amended standards will establish new energy conservation standards for fluorescent lamp ballasts, as summarized in the tables below.

Each fluorescent ballast designed to operate at nominal input voltages of 120 or 277 volts; with an input current frequency of 60 Hertz; and for use in connection with fluorescent lamps as defined in 10 CFR 430.2; shall have a power factor of 0.9 or greater (or a power factor of 0.5 or greater if it is designed and labeled for use only in residential applications) and shall have a ballast luminous efficiency of not less than the following:

Table 3. Amended Energy Conservation Standards for Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts
BLE = A/(1+B*average total lamp arc power ^ -C) Where A, B, and C are as follows:
Description A B C
Instant start and rapid start ballasts (not classified as residential) that are designed to operate
4-foot medium bipin lamps
2-foot U-shaped lamps
8-foot slimline lamps
0.993 0.27 0.25
Programmed start ballasts (not classified as residential) that are designed to operate
4-foot medium bipin lamps
2-foot U-shaped lamps
4-foot miniature bipin standard output lamps
4-foot miniature bipin high output lamps
0.993 0.51 0.37
Instant start and rapid start ballasts (not classified as sign ballasts) that are designed to operate 8-foot high output lamps 0.993 0.38 0.25
Programmed start ballasts (not classified as sign ballasts) that are designed to operate 8-foot high output lamps 0.973 0.70 0.37
Instant start and rapid start residential ballasts that operate
4-foot medium bipin lamps
2-foot U-shaped lamps
8-foot slimline lamps
0.993 0.41 0.25
Programmed start residential ballasts that are designed to operate
4-foot medium bipin lamps
2-foot U-shaped lamps
0.973 0.71 0.37

The standards described in the table above do not apply to: (A) a ballast that is designed for dimming to 50 percent or less of its maximum output (except for those specified below); (B) a low-frequency ballast that: (1) is designed to operate T8 diameter lamps; (2) is designed, labeled, and marketed for use in EMI-sensitive environments only; (3) is shipped by the manufacturer in packages containing 10 or fewer ballasts; or (C) a programmed start ballast that operates 4-foot medium bipin T8 lamps and delivers on average less than 140 milliamperes to each lamp.

Each fluorescent lamp ballast manufactured on or after November 14, 2014, and designed to operate at nominal input voltages of 120 or 277 volts; with an input current frequency of 60 Hertz; for use in connection with fluorescent lamps (as defined in 10 CFR 430.2); for dimming to 50 percent or less of the maximum output of the ballast shall have a power factor of 0.9 or greater (or a power factor of 0.5 or greater if it is designed and labeled for use only in residential applications and a ballast luminous efficiency of not less than the following:

Table 4. Amended Energy Conservation Standards for Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts Used for Dimming
Designed for the operation of Ballast input voltage Total nominal lamp watts Ballast luminous efficiency
Low frequency ballasts High frequency ballasts
One F34T12 lamp 120/277 34 0.777 0.778
Two F34T12 lamps 120/277 68 0.804 0.805
Two F96T12/ES lamps 120/277 120 0.876 0.884
Two F96T12HO/ES lamps 120/277 190 0.711 0.713

After a regulatory action has been completed, Executive Order 12866 requires agencies to identify the substantive changes between the draft submitted to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review and the action subsequently announced, and to identify those changes made at the suggestion or recommendation of OIRA.

Test Procedure for Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts

Current Test Procedure

To determine compliance with DOE standards, manufacturers must follow the test procedures specified at 10 CFR 430.23(q) for fluorescent lamp ballasts manufactured or distributed into commerce. The methods to conduct the test procedure are further specified in 10 CFR 430, Subpart B, Appendix Q. This information is also in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.

2011 Active Mode Test Procedures for Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts

2009 Standby Mode and Off Mode Test Procedures for Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts

For further guidance or to submit questions related to the implementation of this test procedure, visit the Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions page.

Amended Test Procedure

The May 4, 2011 final rule above also established a new test procedure at Appendix Q1. Because DOE has amended the fluorescent lamp ballast energy conservation standards, use of the test procedures at Appendix Q1 will be required beginning November 14, 2014.

Waivers, Exceptions, and Exemptions

Waivers

No test procedure waivers have been issued for fluorescent lamp ballasts.

For information about obtaining test procedure waivers, see 10 CFR 430.27.

Exceptions

DOE's Office of Hearings and Appeals has not authorized exception relief for fluorescent lamp ballasts.

For information about obtaining exception relief, see 10 CFR part 1003.

State Exemptions to Federal Pre-emption

DOE has not exempted any state from this energy conservation standard. States may petition DOE to exempt a state regulation from preemption by the Federal energy conservation standard. States may also petition DOE to withdraw such exemptions. For details, see 10 CFR part 430, subpart D.

Small Business Exemptions

Any manufacturer of a covered product with annual gross revenues that do not exceed $8,000,000 from all its operations and meets certain other conditions may apply for an exemption to the energy conservation standard. For details, see 10 CFR part 430, subpart E.

Statutory Authority

The current energy conservation standards for fluorescent lamp ballasts are mandated by Part A, the "Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles" of Title III of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), as amended. (42 U.S.C. 6291–6309) These appliances are treated as covered products under Part A. (42 U.S.C. 6292(a)(13))

Historical Information

DOE published a final rule on November 14, 2011 amending standards for covered fluorescent lamp ballasts. DOE published a final rule in May 2011 revising test procedures for fluorescent lamp ballasts. In October 2009 DOE published a final rule revising test procedures for fluorescent lamp ballasts by establishing standby and off mode test procedures.

Helpful Links and Contact Information

Helpful Links

Find tips and guidance for making your home, workplace, or vehicle more energy efficient visit EnergySavers.gov.

DOE supports the testing and verification of ENERGY STAR® products in close collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency. ENERGY STAR qualified light fixtures use about 75% the energy of traditional lighting.

Contact information

For more information related to the regulation of this product, please email:


fluorescent_lamp_ballasts@ee.doe.gov