Mayor Newsom Announces Plan To Ban Old-style, Inefficient Fluorescent Light Tubes In San Francisco Commercial Buildings

(February 6, 2007)

Advances in Technology make Traditional Fat Fluorescent Tubes a Thing of the Past

SAN FRANCISCO – Mayor Newsom today announced that he has asked the City Attorney to draft legislation banning the use of old-style fluorescent tubes in San Francisco's commercial buildings. The legislation seeks to employ every option the city has legally at hand to get inefficient fluorescent lights out of buildings and businesses throughout San Francisco, both new and existing.

The old fluorescent tubes, known as T-12's, were at one time the standard for energy efficient lighting. The lighting industry, however, has made significant technological advances over the past decade, and new model fluorescent tubes are much more efficient, and save users energy and money. While many businesses in the city have switched already to the slimmer, more efficient T-8 fluorescent tubes, the legislation's purpose is to make the changes universal in all of the city's commercial buildings.

"San Francisco has very aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals," observed Mayor Newsom. "We have adopted the goal of getting to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, and in order to succeed, we need to capture every energy efficiency measure we can because efficiency translates directly to emissions reductions."

The Department of the Environment estimates that if the remaining T-12s in the city were replaced by the new T-8s, it would save enough energy to power 7,200 San Francisco residences. Emissions savings would total 16,500 tons of CO2, the equivalent of taking 3,000 cars off the road.

The T-8 technology has been available for several years, and the Department of the Environment has offered programs to support energy efficient lighting retrofits for small businesses since 2001. The city's current Energy Watch program, a partnership with PG&E, will bring expertise and subsidies to help medium and small businesses enact a full range of potential energy upgrades, including replacing T-12s with T-8s.