Manufacturers are not required to indicate how much toxic mercury is in your lighting. So we created in 2008 the nation's first list of 700 energy efficient, long-lasting lighting by major manufacturers with the lower levels of toxic mercury.
- Energy Star LEDs are more efficient, durable, and longer lasting than incandescents and fluorescents.
- Save $30 in electricity costs over each compact fluorescent lightbulb's (CFL) lifetime.
1. Get an email when the list of bulbs and ballasts are ready from the new 2012-present lamps and ballast contract. For now, buy new LEDs, bulbs and ballasts that meet these specifications, or 2005-2012 SF Approved bulbs, ballasts, and fixtures. All other lighting is LIMITED USE (inefficient, short-life, or high mercury), such as:
- T12 lamps or ballasts.
- Incandescents that cannot be replaced with LEDs, CFLs, other fluorescents, high-intensity discharge lamps.
- Specialty applications (e.g., historic fixtures).
2. Who can help you avoid LIMITED USE lighting:
4. Recycle Lighting
Privately-owned buildings: check RecycleWhere.org.
5. Use the Buy Green Checklist for compliance and prizes. Compliance is monitored by Office of Contract Administration and SF Department of Environment.
Contact SF Energy Watch (415-355-3769) to get a free on-site assessment to identify energy savings and low-cost installation of energy-saving equipment.
Fluorescent bulbs contain elemental mercury. If they break, mercury is breathed as a vapor:
Short-term acute exposure can cause pneumonia-like symptoms.
Mercury released in the air gets into water and fish. It transforms into methylmercury in fish. Up to 637,233 children/year have cord blood mercury levels over 5.8 μg/L, a level associated with loss of IQ.
Coal-burning power plants are the largest man-made source of mercury emissions to the air in the U.S. Using energy-efficient lighting reduces demand for power, which reduces mercury released by coal-burning power plants.
Recycle lighting and products with toxic mercury at Earth 911
Ballasts and bulbs (fluorescents, neon, metal halide, mercury vapor)
Singing greeting cards, flashing jewelry and shoes
- SF Approved Lighting products are primarily limited to products SF City Departments can buy at a contract negotiated price. It is not a full list of all low-mercury, energy-efficient lighting in the world.
- Learn more about how products get on the List.
- Sign up to get an email when this Lighting List is updated in 2012.
Jessian Choy, SFE
Alicia Culver and Marci Yellin, Green Purchasing Institute
Chris Geiger, SFE
- Danielle Dowers, SF Public Utilities Commission