General Service Fluorescent Lamps


General service fluorescent lamps (GSFLs) are manufactured in a variety of shapes (e.g., straight and U-shaped), lengths (e.g., 4-foot and 8-foot), and types (rapid start and instant start). General service or linear fluorescent lamps are those lamps that satisfy the majority of fluorescent applications, except for some specific lighting applications, such as lamps used in horticulture, cold temperature installations, and others. The largest portion of the GSFL market is T8 lamps (1-inch diameter). Tubular LEDs (TLEDs) are an alternative to GSFLs and have gained significant market share.

Several states have enacted or introduced ‘clean lighting’ legislation to phase out fluorescent lamps due to the toxic mercury these products contain.


The current standards for general service fluorescent lamps took effect in 2018. The standards range from 76.9 lumens per watt (lpw) to 97.0 lpw, depending on the lamp type and correlated color temperature (CCT). 

There are exemptions in the standards for eight types of non-general applications (10 CFR 430.2). One of the exempt GSFL types, those with high color-rendering index (CRI>87), are regulated by certain states.

In 2023, DOE issued a final determination not to amend the standards for GSFLs. 

*The energy efficiency metric, minimum average lamp efficacy, is expressed in lumen output per watt (lpw).


As of 2022, TLEDs represented about one-third of total shipments of linear lamps, but T12, T8, and T5 fluorescent lamps continued to make up the majority of sales.

Savings through what year?: 2047
Energy saved (quads): 2.5
CO2 savings (million metric tons): 160
Net present value savings ($billion) 3% discount rate: 5.5
Net present value savings ($billion) 7% discount rate: 2.0


Federal Date States
Potential Effective Date of Updated Standard 2026
Updated DOE Standard Due 2023
3rd Federal Standard Effective 2018
Potential Effective Date of Updated Standard 2017
3rd Federal Standard Adopted (DOE) 2015
Updated DOE Standard Due 2014
2nd Federal Standard Effective 2012
Test Procedure - Last Revised - Active Mode 2012
Test Procedure - Last Revised - Active Mode 2012
2nd Federal Standard Adopted (DOE) 2009
1st Federal Standard Effective 1995
1st Federal Standard Adopted (Congress) 1992
EPACT Initial Federal Legislation Enacted 1992

Timeline reflects state standards from 2001 to present; federal standards from inception to present.