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Covered Product Category: Compact Fluorescent Lamps

Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides acquisition guidance across a variety of product categories, including compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which are an ENERGY STAR-qualified product category. Federal laws and requirements mandate that agencies meet these efficiency requirements in all procurement and acquisition actions that are not specifically exempted by law.

Most manufacturers display the ENERGY STAR label on complying models. For a model not displaying this label, check the manufacturer's literature to determine if it meets the efficiency requirements outlined by ENERGY STAR.

Performance Requirements for Federal Purchases

For the most up-to-date efficiency levels required by ENERGY STAR, look for the ENERGY STAR label or visit the ENERGY STAR Product Specifications website. For more information, contact the FEMP point of contact listed at the bottom of this page.

Buying Energy-Efficient Compact Fluorescent Lamps

CFLs are sold either as "integral" bulb/ballast combinations or "modular" systems, which have one or more pin-based bulbs that may be replaced separately while reusing the ballast. When buying integral CFLs from a commercial source (retailer or distributor), select or specify models with the ENERGY STAR label. All ENERGY STAR-qualified products meet this specification. Only integral CFLs, not modular types, are included in the ENERGY STAR labeling program.

Modular CFLs allow a separate pin-based bulb to be replaced when one burns out. The ballast and base can generally be reused for about five bulb replacements. (Most ballasts are rated at 50,000 hours.) For a modular CFL, make sure that the bulb's lumen output is rated for the specific ballast used and that the pin design fits the base.

The Federal supply sources for CFLs are the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and the General Services Administration (GSA). DLA sells CFLs through its Energy-Efficient Lighting catalog. GSA offers CFLs on Schedule 62-II, as well as through its online shopping network, GSA Advantage! Look for products that provide the needed light output (lumens) and meet or exceed the required lumens per watt performance.

Buyer Tips

CFLs installed in enclosed fixtures designed for incandescent bulbs may overheat. This can significantly reduce both light output and lifetime. Even under optimum conditions, light output from a CFL will decrease over its lifetime. To maintain existing light levels, select CFLs with rated lumen output (of bulb and ballast together) at least as high as the bulbs they replace.

CFLs should have a power factor (PF) above 50% and a color rendering index (CRI) above 80%. ENERGY STAR-qualified integral CFLs and most available modular CFLs meet these criteria.

Particularly for high-use fixtures, consider replacing an existing screw-based ("incandescent") fixture with one designed exclusively for CFL use (i.e., a fixture with a hard-wired ballast that accommodates pin-based CFLs). Residential CFL fixtures are also covered by an ENERGY STAR labeling program.

These requirements apply to all forms of procurement, including guide and project specifications; construction, renovation, repair, energy service, operation and maintenance (O&M) contracts; lease agreements; and solicitations for offers. Energy performance requirements should be included in all evaluations of solicitation responses. Buyers shall insert the standard clause from FAR section 52.223-15 into contracts and solicitations that deliver, acquire, furnish, or specify energy-consuming products for use in Federal facilities. Agencies can claim an exception to these requirements through a written finding that no ENERGY STAR-qualified or FEMP-designated product is life-cycle cost effective for a specific application.

Estimating Energy and Cost Savings

ENERGY STAR has an Excel-based cost calculator for light bulbs. To modify the electricity price, click on the "Inputs" tab, select "Commercial" from the pull-down menu, and then select your "Location", or input your actual electricity rate. The output section, located in the "Results" tab, will automatically display results that better reflect your conditions.

Finding More Information

Federal supply sources are the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). GSA sells products through its Multiple Awards Schedules and GSA Advantage! DLA offers products through the DOD EMALL.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provided supporting analysis for this acquisition guidance.