Fluorescent Lighting Fades Out in Oregon


By Joshua Baker

Do you have a commercial building in Oregon with fluorescent lighting?

If so, you should be aware of Oregon House Bill 2531, signed into law in July 2023, which prohibits the sale, offer, or distribution of fluorescent lamps. The prohibition on screw-in compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) went into effect on January 1, 2024. Prohibitions on linear fluorescent tubes, and pin-base CFLs, will go into effect on January 1, 2025.

This law doesn’t mean that you have to replace all of your fluorescent lighting by January 1, but you won’t be able to legally purchase fluorescent replacement lamps after that date.

The good news is that we’re to help and there are a variety of options to replace fluorescent lighting with LED lighting that could save you 50% or more on your electricity usage. Additional good news for buildings served by Portland General Electric, or Pacific Power, is that Energy Trust of Oregon has committed to offering incentives for replacing linear fluorescent tubes, and pin-base CFLs, until July 1 of 2025.

Lloyd EcoDistrict and our partners at Conserve Energy are here to help your building or company plan the phase-out with our LAMP, our lighting solutions program.

You have three main options:

LED Replacement Lamps
Screw-in CFL lamps, or incandescent lamps, can easily be replaced with screw-in LED lamps. LED screw-in lamps cost only a few dollars, and come in a variety of light outputs (lumens) and color temperatures to meet most needs. Most LED screw-in lamps are dimmable, but you may need to change wall-mounted dimmers, as some older models are not compatible with LEDs.

LED tubes (Tubular LEDs or “TLEDs”) are available to replace T12, T8, and T5 fluorescent tubes. Pin-base LED lamps are readily available to replace pin-base CFL lamps. As with screw-in lamps, they are available in a range of lumen outputs and color temperatures.

Fluorescent fixtures use ballasts to provide the correct voltage and current for the lamps. Some TLEDs, and pin-base LED lamps, are “ballast–compatible” with newer electronic ballasts, so the retrofit can be as simple as just swapping lamps. However, if you are having this done professionally, most installers will bypass the ballast so that the LED lamps operate on line voltage. This assures there are no compatibility issues, such as flickering, and removes that ballast as a point of failure to eliminate maintenance down the road. One consideration is that many TLEDs are not dimmable, so options for adding lighting controls may be limited.

LED Fixture Retrofit Kits
For many fixtures, including 2×2 or 2×4 “troffers,” recessed downlights, and some strip fixtures, LED retrofit kits are available. These kits replace the “guts” of the fixture but retain the original housing and will often look like a brand-new fixture. Also, LED retrofit kits are generally dimmable and compatible with newer lighting control systems. Many are available with built-in sensors on each fixture for maximum flexibility and energy savings.

The cost of a retrofit kit will be more than a lamp retrofit, but less than a new fixture. Installation is generally pretty simple and can be accomplished without getting into the ceiling above the fixtures. Labor cost is often similar to the cost of a lamp replacement when a ballast is bypassed.

In older buildings, as long as wiring met the local electrical code at the time of installation, the building owner is generally not obligated to make changes to update existing wiring when changes are made to the electrical code. However, if any changes are made to the wiring, such as installing a new fixture, then the wiring to that fixture must be brought up to the current code. Depending on the state of the existing wiring, this can add significant expense. Since retrofit kits leave the original housing and junction boxes in place, they don’t require changes to the existing wiring and avoid this potential expense.

New LED Fixtures
For pretty much every existing fixture, there is a new LED fixture available as a replacement. If existing fixtures are in poor condition, then new fixtures may be a requirement. New LED fixtures can significantly enhance the appearance of a building. New LED fixtures will have been designed specifically for the LED modules, so you can be confident that they will provide the proper light distribution. Practically all new LED fixtures are dimmable and compatible with newer lighting control systems. Most are available with built-in sensors on each fixture for maximum flexibility and energy savings, and many offer adjustable color temperature and wattage.

Which option should I Choose?

There is no single right answer to this question. LED Lamp retrofits will generally have the lowest up-front cost and may be the only way to go if budget is limited. However, Energy Trust of Oregon, and most other utilities, offer significantly higher incentives for retrofit kits or new fixtures compared to lamp retrofits. They also offer additional incentives for controls. Before making a decision, it is a good idea to check with your utility, or a utility “trade ally contractor,” to determine the net cost after incentives.

New fixtures and retrofit kits will have a better appearance than retrofits of old fixtures and will generally also offer better lighting quality. Both new fixtures and retrofit kits give you the ability to add more advanced controls that will allow for more energy savings over time and can tie in to a building management system. However, they are more expensive for both parts and installation. If you need to change the interior lighting design and layout, new fixtures are generally the best option

Many projects that cover a whole building upgrade include a combination of all three options.

Want to find out which option(s) are best for your building?

Contact the Lloyd EcoDistrict / Conserve Energy LAMP team to discuss which option is best for your building, parking lot, or garage.

Joshua Baker
Lloyd EcoDisctrict
Direct: 315-286-5594

Michael Reunert
Conserve Energy, LLC
Direct: 503-758-3059

The LED Advantage Member Program, LAMP, is brought to you by Lloyd EcoDistrict and Conserve Energy.

LAMP offers competitive lighting retrofits, with unique social benefits.

A portion of proceeds from LAMP supports Lloyd EcoDistrict’s ongoing sustainability work and affordable housing projects and solutions in the greater Portland area.