As lighting efficiency improves, it is useful to understand the theoretical limits to luminous efficacy for light that we perceive as white. Independent of the efficiency with which photons are generated, there exists a spectrally imposed limit to the luminous efficacy of any source of photons. We find that, depending on the acceptable bandpass and—to a lesser extent—the color temperature of the light, the ideal white light source achieves a spectral luminous efficacy of 250-370 lm/W. This is consistent with previous calculations, but here we explore the maximum luminous efficacy as a function of photopic sensitivity threshold, color temperature, and color rendering index; deriving peak performance as a function of all three parameters. We also present example experimental spectra from a variety of light sources, quantifying the intrinsic efficacy of their spectral distributions.