Fluorescent tubes are now to be phased out

Published 15 Feb 2023

The European Commission has decided to scrap the exemption for mercury in light sources. This means that conventional fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent tubes will be phased out in 2023. According to the Swedish Lighting Industry's calculations, as many as 17 million luminaires in our properties will have to be replaced in the next five years - a staggering figure!

The phasing out has been going on for a period, but from August 23 no fluorescent tubes of the items mentioned below may be sold on the market. The EU expects that the phasing out will mean major environmental gains as the mercury in the products is now completely banned. Due to the fact that T8 and T5 fluorescent tubes as well as compact fluorescent tubes (CLF) are very common in almost all types of properties, the phasing out will also pose a lot of challenges for property owners. According to the Swedish Lighting Industry's calculations, as many as 17 million luminaires will be affected over the next five years. The Swedish Energy Agency's calculations show that the phasing out until 2035 will mean an energy saving of around 310 billion kWh and at the same time a reduction of mercury within the EU by around 5.4 tonnes.

What do the alternatives look like for you as a property owner?

1. Replace the light source with an equivalent LED light source
For many light sources that are affected, there are today replacement items with LED technology.

2. Reconstruction of the existing fixture
An option that requires extra thought. A rebuild can negatively affect both light distribution and heat development. Also note that this must be carried out by an authorized person and requires extra documentation. The Swedish Electrical Safety Authority has rules and constitutes market control around this procedure.

3. Replacement of fixture
If the lighting fixtures are of an older type (materials such as terminals, cables and lamp holders are often in poor condition), then it is always recommended to change to new, much more energy efficient fixtures or lighting systems with LED.

Important to highlight: The phasing out of fluorescent tubes also means a large energy saving potential. Depending on which option you choose, the savings can vary quite a bit, and an important factor is of course the electricity price. An LED luminaire uses only about 20 percent of the electricity consumption required by a regular light bulb. It is therefore good to think one step further and see the whole thing in a holistic perspective. Choosing lighting with a control system can also have a big impact and is often the smartest in terms of energy.

Questions and answers and important things to consider when switching.

Can I replace existing light sources directly with new LED light sources? In some cases it works, but we would still recommend replacing the entire fixture instead. LED technology can negatively affect older luminaires and their constituent components, which in the worst case can contribute to both changed EMC-characteristics, short circuit and fire.

Will I still get the same light if I switch to LED light sources?
No, in most cases you don't get that, as the spread of light from an LED fluorescent tube differs from traditional fluorescent tubes. Light distribution and other lighting technical properties can also change if there is a reflector mounted, which can mean that the requirements according to the lighting standard are no longer met.

I want to rebuild the fixtures - what should I think about?
To rebuild a classic lighting fixture, changes may be required that may affect the CE marking of the fixture. Make sure this does not happen. It is also important to keep in mind that when you have changed the luminaire, it must still meet the safety requirements that apply today. Those requirements may be higher than what applied when the luminaire was purchased. Also keep in mind that if you make switches in the luminaire, you take over all product liability.

How should you think when it comes to emergency lighting?
The same procedure applies here as for existing fluorescent lamps. Avoid replacing the light sources, replace the entire fixture instead. Then you not only get the latest technology, but also a safe, energy-efficient emergency lighting fixture with a longer life expectancy.

Do more LED fixtures in a property affect the starting currents?
Yes, LED light sources often provide high starting currents compared to equivalent fluorescent tubes. These spikes sometimes limit the number of fixtures that can be connected to the existing fuse and cable dimension. Changes in the number of LED luminaires versus load and starting current can, in the worst case, knock out inverters or backup systems completely in larger installations. Contact us and we will help you with solutions to limit high starting currents.

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