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New fluorescent ballast energy efficiency regulations took effect in November. The new rules expand previous regulations to cover seven classes of T12, T8 and T5 fluorescent lamp ballasts. Outdoor sign and residential-¬only ballasts, exempted from previous DOE ballast regulations, are now covered and will be significantly affected.
Many T12 electronic ballasts comply with the new rules, while some are being redesigned and others discontinued. T12 magnetic sign ballasts are being discontinued, with T12 electronic ballasts as an alternative. Today’s offering of T8 and T5 electronic ballasts complies. The net effect of the regulation appears to be elimination of previously exempted T12 magnetic sign and residential-only ballasts, and a marginal efficiency improvement in the T12 electronic ballast offering.