In 1988 and 1992, two significant laws were passed that banned the manufacture and distribution of magnetic ballasts and certain fluorescent lamps that had for many years served as a workhorse for commercial lighting applications.
The laws were passed because technology made new energy-efficient choices readily available and because a reduction in national energy consumption was perceived as in the public interest, both for the conservation of fossil fuels and to reduce air pollution.
Federal Ballast Energy Law
The Federal Ballast Energy Law (Public Law 100-357) was enacted in 1988 as part of the National Appliance Energy Conservation Amendments (NAECA '88).
The law set minimum ballast efficacy standards for four major fluorescent lamp types that represented some 85% of all installed fluorescent ballasts.
As of 1991, ballasts submitted for testing by the U.S. Department of Energy and complying with NAECA '88 provisions carry an 'E' symbol on their labels. Ballasts exempt from NAECA included dimming ballasts and ballasts used in areas where ambient temperatures reach 0°F or lower.
The new "standard" magnetic ballast is what is called a premium magnetic ballast, which increases efficiency to meet NAECA requirements. Other options include cathode cut-out ("hybrid") ballasts and electronic ballasts.
National Energy Policy Act
In 1992, President Bush signed the National Energy Policy Act, comprehensive energy legislation that initiated deregulation of the electric utility industry, banned the manufacture and distribution of several major fluorescent lamp types, and set minimum efficacy standards for a variety of PAR and R incandescent lamps.
Major fluorescent lamps that are no longer manufactured, with available alternatives, are shown in the table below.
Major Fluorescent Lamp Types Affected by EPACT '92
Minimum Efficacy Standards for Incandescent PAR and R Lamps
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