Low wattage T8s have been on the market for some time, and as many know, they offer an immediate, easy and cost-effective way to reduce energy usage for customers—especially for those who might not be quite ready for a full retrofit. Available in 28 and 25 watt versions, they can provide up to a 20 percent reduction in energy use compared to 32 watt T8 lamps. Through longer lamp life, low wattage T8s can cut maintenance costs by up to 50 percent. They are compatible with most existing T8 ballasts, making for an easy replacement option with no complications. And last but not least, customers can achieve these savings without a noticeable difference in light output or quality.
According to a 2014 study, roughly 52 million lamps in Northwest commercial buildings were linear fluorescent T8 lamps, but less than 9 percent of those were low wattage T8s. Coupled with the fact that lighting offers the largest potential commercial sector savings for the region and maintenance efficiency opportunities have remained largely untouched, Northwest utilities, in collaboration with the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, are encouraging the adoption of low wattage T8s.
Because of the large number of existing fluorescent T8 lamps, large retail and office buildings represent the greatest opportunity for low wattage T8 lamp replacement. And while there are more T8s in office buildings across the region, retail spaces, which consume more energy on average due to longer operating hours, can achieve even greater return on investment from a low wattage T8 switch.
Replacing 32 watt T8s with low wattage T8s is a proven path to reduced energy consumption and maintenance costs for many commercial buildings across the Northwest.
 Source: Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s Commercial Building Stock Assessment 2014. Data does not include universities and hospitals.