Legislation, Codes, and Rebates

a guest post by Lisa J. Reed, Lighting Designer

There was never specifically an incandescent lamp ban in EISA 2007, but it imposed an efficiency standard which effectively outlawed the manufacture of the 100 Watt incandescent lamp in 2012 followed by the 75 Watt incandescent lamp in 2013, with 60 Watt

While the initial hand wringing about lighting legislation and light bulb bans is over, the phase-in of the restrictions continues. Here’s a quick update on where we are and some thoughts on where we might be going.

Legislation:

Efficiency standards are the main focus of this legislation. These efficiency standards were set into place by either:

  1. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007) or
  2. The Department of Energy Regulations of 2009.

Incandescent

There was never specifically an incandescent lamp ban in EISA 2007, but it imposed an efficiency standard which effectively outlawed the manufacture of the 100 Watt incandescent lamp in 2012 followed by the 75 Watt incandescent lamp in 2013, with 60 Watt and 40 Watt standard incandescent lamps to be discontinued in 2014. Incandescent technology is still allowed (for now) for many specialty applications and also through the use of halogen sources, which behave almost exactly like their incandescent predecessors.

Some halogen PAR and R lamp sources will be affected by the Department of Energy Standards that were set into motion in 2009. These policies take effect in July of 2014. More efficient versions of these sources are already available and still more new ones are currently in development.

One of the reasons the general public has balked at all of these changes is that lighting quality is not addressed by the efficiency standards. The law requires a certain light output per watt consumed, but is almost always silent on lighting quality questions such as color, flicker, and dimmability. If equal quality was required of the replacement products, I think the public would be more open to the changes. People do want to save energy. At the very least they want to save money on their electric bills. But they are not satisfied with the compromises they are being asked to make. It is time to build products that meet consumer demands – not just legislative requirements.

Fluorescent

Efficiency standards impact certain fluorescent lamps as well. The energy-guzzling T12 lamp / magnetic ballast system has already been phased out of production due to efficiency standards. Up next? Department of Energy regulations target T8 fluorescent lamps with a low color rendering index. (CRI) These lamps will be phased out in July of 2014.

Finally, this is a case where the lighting quality makes a difference in the standard! The lamps with better color rendering are not being phased out.

Sometimes products are outlawed is because they contain dangerous or toxic materials such as the PCBs in old ballasts. Just like asbestos insulation and lead paint have been phased out, any lighting products that contain mercury will surely be subject to future legislation. Since it uses a bit of mercury, watch for fluorescent technology to come into the sights of legislators who are looking for a target.

While the initial hand wringing about lighting legislation and light bulb bans is over, the phase-in of the restrictions continues.

Codes:

On a local level, when codes are adopted they become law. Lighting gets legislated mostly through energy codes, and those can vary from city to city. California’s Title 24 codifies certain aspects of lighting and lighting controls. Taking a peek at California law might give us insight into the future of US lighting legislation. The new Title 24, which goes into effect January 1, 2014, sets its sights on controls to reduce lighting energy consumption. It requires the use of occupancy sensors in warehouse aisles and library stacks. Controls must reduce light levels in stairwells and corridors by at least 50% when not occupied. Exterior lighting is not exempt. Parking garages, parking lots, and outdoor lighting mounted below 24 feet will require motion sensors.

When we can no longer reduce the wattage consumed by light fixtures, the next step is to reduce the amount of time they are burning. Watch for future federal legislation to require lighting controls.

Lighting rebates are also often available through utility companies. Rebates can be given for installing occupancy sensors or just about any energy-saving lighting solution. Check with your local utility company for specifics.

Rebates:

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT) is a piece of lighting legislation that can work in your favor. It provides tax deductions for certain energy efficiency upgrades in lighting. If you reduce the lighting energy consumption in your facility below a baseline, you not only save energy, you can apply for a tax deduction based on that efficiency!

Lighting rebates are also often available through utility companies. Rebates can be given for installing occupancy sensors or just about any energy-saving lighting solution. Check with your local utility company for specifics.

Lighting manufacturers provide tools to help you navigate the current legislation. But let us know if you have questions! We are here to help you, now and into the future.

 

Lisa J Reed photo - Lighting Blog

Lisa J. Reed has been attracted to lighting (like a moth to a flame) for 20+ years. She is the Founding Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC in St. Louis, where she designs, teaches, and writes about architectural lighting. Connect with Lisa J. Reed on Google+.

 

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