Fluorescent Ballasts (BLE)

Upcoming BLE-Based Requirements (Effective November 14, 2014)

New rules will replace those originally established by the DOE Rulemaking in 2000 and updated by the EPAct 2005 Legislation. Including replacing the current metric of Ballast Efficacy Factor (BEF), sometimes called ballast efficiency factor.

New standards will use ballast efficiency (%) and will cover: 
1) Ballasts for T8 and T12 4-ft. and 2-ft. U-lamps with medium bi-pin bases
2) Ballasts for T8 and T12 8-ft. lamps with single pin bases
3) Ballasts for T8 and T12 8-ft. HO lamps with RDC bases
Design Implications:

Standards likely will eliminate more T12 ballasts and all but the most efficient T8 electronic ballasts.

Standards will be added for ballasts operating  4-ft. T5 standard and HO lamps with miniature bi-pin bases, to be in synch with recent rules regarding fluorescent lamps.

Regarding previous exemptions …..
- Cold temp T12 HO and sign ballasts will no longer be exempt – separate standards will be set for these
- Residential ballasts for 4-foot rapid start lamps will no longer be exempt – separate standards will be set for these
- Dimming ballasts that dim down to 50% light output or lower will continue to be exempt from any regulation

The new rules:
1) Establish energy efficiency standards for each ballast type
2) Require the ballast have a power factor of >0.90 if designed for nonresidential use or >0.50 if designed for residential use;
3) Require outdoor sign ballasts acquire UL Type 2 rating and be designed, labeled and marketed for use in this application; and 
4) Require residential-only ballasts satisfy FCC 47 CFR part 18 and be designed, labeled and marketed only for use in this application. 


- Additional dimming ballasts;

- Low frequency T8 ballasts that are designed, labeled, and marketed for use in EMI-sensitive environments and sold in packages of 10 or fewer;

- PS ballasts that operate 4-foot MBP T8 lamps and deliver on average less than 140mA to each lamp.

- dimming ballasts that dim to 50% or less of full light output (except for T12 dimming ballasts);

- programmed-start ballasts operating 4-ft. medium bi-pin lamps that deliver a current of less than 140 mA to each lamp (0.71 ballast factor); and

- T8 magnetic ballasts labeled and marketed for use in electromagnetic interference-sensitive applications and sold in packages of 10 or fewer units.

Many products already comply, while some do not; manufacturers are currently evaluating their products to determine on a case by case basis what models comply or not, and for those that do not, whether they will be re-engineered or discontinued. The following ballast types are at greatest risk:

- majority of T12 electronic ballasts;

- majority of outdoor-sign and residential-only ballasts; and

- T8 and T5 programmed-start ballasts lacking a cathode cutout design.