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The City of Portland, Oregon

Sustainability at Work

Providing free tools and expertise to achieve your goals

Phone: 503-823-7037


Upgrade your fluorescent lighting

Ready to cut lighting energy use in half, while maintaining or improving lighting quality? If you still have older linear fluorescent lighting (T12s or pre-2000 T8s), it’s time to transition to more efficient bulbs. You’ll save month after month, with payback time generally estimated at 18 months or less. 

Light tubesLinear fluorescents come in three sizes:

T12s (least efficient),

Older or newer T8s (newer is noticeably better);

or T5s (highly efficient).

The 12, 8 and 5 numbers refer to the diameter of the bulb – T12s are 1-½” (12/8”) round, T8s are 1” (8/8”) round, and T5s are 5/8” round. The label on the bulb also commonly provides the diameter.

Another good reason to upgrade to more efficient T8 or T5 lighting: The Department of Energy mandated a July 2012 phase-out of most T12 bulbs. Now is the time to take advantage of Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO) incentives – available for upgrades away from T12s and older, less efficient T8s. ETO has also produced a very helpful guide, which you can find here: Guide to new, energy-efficient lighting technologies for your business.


If you’re still in the early stages of deciding between numerous energy actions or improvements, contact us. A sustainability advisor will help you identify a variety of best practices and possible equipment upgrades. We can also connect you with your energy provider for additional resources. Get in touch with us at or 503-823-7037.

If you know what you need and you are ready to upgrade, get in touch with ETO!