A series of product improvements have occurred over the more than 20 years since the T8 system was first introduced to the North American market. For lamps, the improvements include high-lumen phosphor, a barrier coat, reduced mercury, and improved overall quality. For ballasts, the improvements include the invention of the program-start ballast and significant efficiency improvements in program-start, instant-start, and rapid-start dimming ballast types. When used together, the result is a lamp and ballast system that can achieve 33 percent more light for the same amount of energy as the original. Here are a few things to keep in mind when applying a super T8 lamp:

  • Presently, super T8 lamps are limited to 4-foot, 32W low-mercury standard lamps. Principle characteristics include 3100+ initial lumens, high lumen maintenance, high CRI, and long life.
  • The super T8 is electrically identical to any other 32W T8, so that the lamps can be used in existing applications, including dimming systems and with both program-start and instant-start ballasts.
  • Any super T8 efficient ballast will operate any 32W T8lamp. Also, the instant-start efficient ballast will operate most reduced wattage T8 lamps.
  • It is necessary to change the ballast factor to realize the full savings impact. For instance, replace a 2850 lumen standard T8 and ballast having 88 percent ballast factor with a 3100 lumen super T8 and ballast having a 78 percent ballast factor. Maintained light levels are similar, and power savings are about 6 watts per lamp.

Current super T8 lamps include the Sylvania XPS, GE HL, Philips Advantage, and Ushio Ultra 8. Examples of efficient super non-dimming ballasts include Sylvania QHE, GE Ultramax and Ultra Start, Universal Ultim8 and Advance Optanium. Efficient dimming ballasts are just becoming available. Note that these products are seldom identified as super; owing to the complexity of the many various product offerings and utility rebate programs, there are several names for this technology, of which high performance is the most popular. Expect T5 lighting to follow suit. A 3050 lumen super is now offered.