The future of fluorescent lightbulb sales in California

California’s AB 2208 (full bill text here) was signed into law September 2022, and bans the sales and distribution of fluorescent bulbs in California. Specifically the bill bans the sale and distribution of the following:

  • Starting January 1, 2024, a screw or bayonet base type compact fluorescent lamp
  • Starting January 1, 2025, a pin-base type compact fluorescent lamp or a linear fluorescent lamp

The bill was proposed and justified on mercury and waste disposal issues and has not been subject to any legal challenge. The bill does not mandate any change to existing fluorescent bulbs.

So what are the implications for building operators and owners?

Buildings that still have fluorescent fixtures should incorporate this into capital planning and maintenance procedures as the deadline approaches.

There are three paths owners and operators can take to address the issue:

  1. Plug and play tube replacements: Common fixtures have plug and play LED replacements that achieve about 50% of the savings of a full tube and driver replacement. There may be difficult matching color and light outputs using these tubes and many Gridium customers have reported maintenance issues with aftermarket tubes. Special care should be taken to examine speciality fixtures and ensure lighting control integration and emergency backup functions are left intact.
  2. Stockpile replacements: With many months left, depending on storage space, stocks could be built to manage a few years of replacements. This strategy has obvious economic and reputational risks, as that is not the intent of the law.
  3. Consider a retrofit: The payback of most lighting projects are under four years and financing may be available at 0% rates. Gridium believes that 2024 will be the last year that LEDs are eligible for utility financing. This is because financing programs do not apply to equipment that is end-of-life. This is critical for anyone that wants to consider taking advantage of the on-bill-financing programs that allow for energy efficiency projects to be put on the utility bill, effectively solving the split incentive dilemma. Regardless of whether financing or capex is preferred, the time to act is now. As budgeting for 2024 approaches, we recommend scoping and placing a full LED retrofit for your team’s consideration.

Engaging our team today can help you get help you lock in the appropriate project financing in time to meet these regulations (while removing paperwork headaches and maximizing project paybacks). Our Gridium Alpha project development team owns the process from end-to-end—financing and developing retrofit projects that can achieve upwards of 40% energy savings and increase the overall NOI for your building, typically with zero capex.

Want more info on CA AB 2208? Watch our on-demand webinar, “Farewell, Fluorescents: Implications of CA’s AB 2208.”

Watch Now
About Tom Arnold

Tom Arnold is co-founder and CEO of Gridium. Prior to Gridium, Tom Arnold was the Vice President of Energy Efficiency at EnerNOC, and cofounder at TerraPass. Tom has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College. When he isn't thinking about the future of buildings, he enjoys riding his bike and chasing after his two daughters.

0 replies on “The future of fluorescent lightbulb sales in California”

You may also be interested in...

4 Steps to a Better Utility Rate
4 Steps to a Better Utility Rate

Need a quick way to lower energy costs? Lean on Gridium to run the analysis and figure out the best utility rate for your unique operation, so you don't have to.