Energy + Environment, Legislation + Regulation

NEMA Announces Consensus Legislative Proposal on Outdoor Lighting Standards

highway-lightingThe National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has announced consensus legislation–created with input from manufacturers, designers, energy advocates and utilities–that would set federal efficiency standards for pole-mounted outdoor lighting for the first time ever.

This legislation creates three tiers for efficiency levels:

· Tier 1, which becomes effective three years after enactment of the bill, sets minimum task lumen per watts (LPW) requirements based upon backlight, uplight, and glare (BUG) ratings.
· Tier 2 standards, which will be established by the Department of Energy, must be published in a final rule no later than January 1, 2013, or 33 months after enactment, whichever is later.
· Tier 3 standards will be established by DOE January 1, 2015, with an effective date of January 1, 2021.

The legislation will regulate two types of lamps that are primarily used outdoors. After January 1, 2016, high output double-ended quartz halogen lamps must have a minimum efficiency of 27 lumens/W for lamps with a minimum rated initial lumen value of 6,000 and a maximum initial lumen value of 15,000. Additionally, 34 lumens/W is required for lamps rated with initial lumen value greater than 15,000 and less than 40,000.

After January 1, 2016, no general purpose mercury vapor lamp may be manufactured. These are the least efficient type of HID lamp and can be replaced with other types of HID lamps or other lamp types. EPAct 2005 banned new mercury vapor fixtures and ballasts, so sales have already been declining. This new provision would complete the transition away from mercury vapor lamps.

The legislation will yield substantial energy savings. Approximately 22 percent of all the electricity generated in the United States is used for lighting, and outdoor lighting represents about 20 percent of that total. A 2007 DOE report estimated that outdoor lighting consumes more than 178 terawatt-hours annually.

  • S Pauley February 6, 2010, 1:18 PM

    Too bad NEMA cares only about energy savings and never about
    light pollution. When you let the fox design the hen house lights you
    get the “more is better” effect. The NEMA fox forgets that humans have eyes that adapt to low light levels, and cars have head lights when bounced off reflective surfaces allow the driver to see quite well without the insult of glare lighting. The lighting industry could get both efficiency PLUS better lighting if they cared less about profits and more about human safety.


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