Category: Legislation + Regulation

Ready Or Not, Here Comes Climate Action

Significant climate action legislation is occurring at the US Federal level, as well as in Massachusetts and Maryland.

Significant climate action legislation is occurring at the US Federal level, as well as in Massachusetts and Maryland. The US Senate and House passed the Inflation Reduction Act, with $369 Billion in climate action. President Biden just signed it into law on Tuesday, 8/16. The bill will address greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, electric vehicles, carbon sequestration and capture, and more.

In July, Massachusetts passed a sweeping climate bill that includes benchmarking language for buildings over 20,000-square-feet, huge energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals, and incentives for electric vehicles.

In April, Maryland enacted a mandate to end carbon emissions on a net basis economy-wide by mid-century, targeting electricity generation, building heating, and transportation. The package also incorporates environmental-justice provisions. Backers called it one of the country’s most aggressive climate change laws.

The MD Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 contains significant provisions to decarbonize buildings and transportation. Measures to reduce building energy use could likely accelerate LED lighting retrofits.

EV incentives in the Federal, Massachusetts, and Maryland laws will all further spur the EV charger market, which a growing number of lighting manufacturers have jumped into. Last Fall’s Infrastructure Law also contained significant EV charging infrastructure incentives.

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Could Sustainable Lighting Product Regulations Be Coming to North America?

Industry discussions about sustainable lighting are increasing, but what would sustainable product regulations look like? The European Union (EU) is far ahead of North America on sustainable product regulations, and a look at what the EU is doing gives one vision of where sustainable product regulations could go in North America.

Industry discussions about sustainable lighting are increasing for a variety of reasons:

  • NAILD’s recent open letter calling for more sustainable LED lighting products. Details here.
  • Vermont’s first-in-the-nation ban on all 4’ linear fluorescent lamps, based on mercury, not energy efficiency. Details here.

But what would sustainable product regulations look like? The European Union (EU) is far ahead of North America on sustainable product regulations, and a look at what the EU is doing gives one vision of where sustainable product regulations could go in North America. Here is a synopsis of the EU approach, from the National Law Review, in April:

At the end of March, the European Commission (Commission) presented the Sustainable Products Initiative (SPI) as part of a ‘Circular Economy Package I’, and proposals for a new directive empowering consumers for the green transition, and a new Construction Products Regulation.

The Commission aims at “making sustainable products the norm” and reducing negative life cycle environmental impacts of products, while benefitting from efficient digital solutions, by setting a framework for Ecodesign requirements, creating an EU digital product passport and tackling the destruction of unsold consumer products.

In particular, the SPI includes the proposal for an Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR), which would repeal the current Ecodesign Directive 2009/125. It establishes a horizontal framework and broadens the scope of the Ecodesign Directive beyond energy-related products, i.e. beyond any product that has an impact on energy consumption during use. The new Regulation would apply to all physical goods, including components and intermediate products, except food, feed, medicinal and veterinary products, living plants and animals, and products of human origin. According to the Commission’s explanatory memorandum, the ESPR is meant to address products that are not covered by existing legislation or where that legislation does not sufficiently address sustainability, and Ecodesign requirements in the delegated acts that it will adopt cannot supersede requirements set in legislative acts (of the Council and European Parliament).

The proposed regulation provides a framework for the Commission to adopt delegated acts with specific requirements for a product or group of products, following the approach of the current Ecodesign Directive. It would task the Commission with adopting a Working Plan with a list of products for which it plans to adopt such delegated acts, covering at least three years, thus providing some predictability. The Commission would have to prioritise products based on their potential contribution to the EU climate, environmental and energy objectives, and for improving the product aspects without disproportionate costs to the public and economic operators. The Commission stated that it has preliminarily identified textiles, furniture, mattresses, tires, detergents, paints, lubricants and intermediate products like iron, steel or aluminium as suitable candidates for the first ESPR Working Plan. It expects to prepare and adopt up to 18 new delegated acts between 2024 and 2027 and 12 new delegated acts between 2028 and 2030. In its proposal, the Commission foresees budget implications, as it would need significantly more staff to implement the Ecodesign framework. It estimates that it will have to increase its dedicated staff from currently 14 to 44 in 2023 and up to 54 in 2027.

For anyone who thinks that EU sustainable product regulations could never cross the Atlantic, remember that California modeled its 2017 RoHS regulations on EU RoHS regulations. It’s certainly plausible that legislatures in California, Vermont, Canada, and other progressive state governments could introduce aspects of the new EU scheme. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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DOE Estimates Linear Fluorescent Lamp Shipments Dropped 85% Between 2015 & 2022, Heading For 98% Drop By 2026

On May 31st, 2022, the US Department of Energy (DOE) issued a Notice of Proposed Determination that it does not intend to amend efficiency standards for General Service Fluorescent Lamps (GSFL). On July 11th, 2022, DOE held a webinar presenting its rationale.

On May 31st, 2022, the US Department of Energy (DOE) issued a Notice of Proposed Determination that it does not intend to amend efficiency standards for General Service Fluorescent Lamps (GSFL). On July 11th, 2022, DOE held a webinar presenting its rationale.

Within the DOE presentation was the slide above that shows GSFL (linear fluorescent lamps) shipments in the US declined 85% between 2015 and 2022, from roughly 400 million lamps in 2015, down to about 60 million this year. This estimate is based on NEMA Lamp Sales Indices (2015-2020). DOE further projects GSFL shipments to decline to roughly 2% of 2015’s number by 2026 (400 million lamps in 2015 down to less than 10 million lamps in 2026).

The complete DOE webinar slide presentation can be downloaded here.

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Vermont First State To Ban 4’ Fluorescent Tubes, But Probably Not The Last

Vermont is the first state in the U.S. to ban 4′ fluorescent linear lamps.

On May 19, 2022, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed H.500 into law, making Vermont the first state in the US to ban all four-foot linear fluorescent lamps. The bill will go into effect January 1, 2024, complemented by an existing law  to phase out all screw-based compact linear fluorescents beginning February 17, 2023.

Taken together, these two policy actions will remove well over 90% of the fluorescent lighting products from the Vermont market, by January 1, 2024, saving Vermont residents $167 million in reduced utility bills by 2040, and cutting 1,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity.

Vermont is the first state to ban all 4’ fluorescent tubes, but probably not the last. California has produced a similar bill that is awaiting approval. Learn more about efforts in California here.

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“Ban the Bulb” is Back

My contribution to the June issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR describes two major Department of Energy rulings related to incandescent lamps–one that revises definitions to eliminate previous exemptions, and anohter that interprets the 2007 energy law’s backstop provision, which will eliminate a majority of lamps that previously complied.

In April 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued two final rules regulating general-service incandescent lamps, the subject of my most recent contribution to ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. The final rules adopted revised definitions of general-service lamps as well as general-service incandescent lamps while interpreting a backstop energy standard as applying to these incandescent lamps. As a result, more incandescent lamps are covered by energy standards, and incandescent and halogen A-lamps that previously complied appear likely to be eliminated.

There’s a tangled web to unweave here, starting with the 2007 energy law and its impact on consumer choice and a big technological shift in the market, conflict in interpretation between the Trump and Biden Administrations, and resulting effect on future availability of incandescent lamps.

Check it out here.

UPDATE: Since publication, I discovered additional information, which I’m happy to share:

While DOE’s enforcement on manufacture and import culminates January 1, 2023, distributors and retailers have more time, affecting market availability of non-compliant general-service lamps in 2023. For distributors and retailers, DOE stated in its enforcement policy that the department would begin with “warning notices in January 2023, progressing to reduced penalties two months later, and culminating in full enforcement in July 2023,” with possibly even more flexibility for “very small retailers” that contact DOE.

Currently, the industry should be evaluating product lines, supply chains, and inventories to ensure compliance.

Learn more about DOE’s enforcement policy at https://bit.ly/3J40Yqb.

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California Bill Would Ban Some Plastic & Styrofoam Packaging If Enacted

The American Lighting Association (ALA) has alerted its members to AB 2026, a bill addressing product packaging in California.

The American Lighting Association (ALA) has alerted its members to AB 2026, a bill addressing product packaging in California. The bill is making its way through the legislative process in the State Assembly. Among other things, the bill prohibits a manufacturer, retailer, producer, or other distributor that sells or offers for sale and ships purchased products in or into the state from using expanded or extruded polystyrene to package or transport the products.

In addition, AB 2026 would phase out the use of plastic films, cushioning and other plastic packaging materials in California. This mandate would require large retailers to meet this mandate by January 1, 2024 and small online retailers to do the same by January 1, 2026.

The legislation has broad support in Sacramento, but has impacted industries concerned about increased product damage during shipping. Read the latest version of the bill text.

 

 

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Distributors Report Infrastructure Law Funds Flowing

A recent survey by Electrical Wholesaling of the Top 150 electrical distributor chains, revealed that Infrastructure Law funds are beginning to be spent in the electrical market.

A recent survey by Electrical Wholesaling of the Top 150 electrical distributor chains, revealed that Infrastructure Law funds are beginning to be spent in the electrical market. The following percentage of responding distributors report that they see infrastructure law funds already flowing:

  • Expansion of high-speed broadband internet for underserved rural or urban areas: 12%
  • Electric utility grid expansion or retrofit: 6%
  • Electric vehicle charging stations: 14%
  • Expansion or retrofit of traditional infrastructure projects, including roads, bridges, rail, ports, and airports: 9%
  • Build, preserve and retrofit homes and commercial buildings: 8%
  • Modernize schools and child-care facilities: 11%
  • Upgrade veterans’ hospitals and federal buildings: 22%

The four bolded spending categories above will lead to more lighting sales. The EV charging spending is another reason multiple lighting manufacturers are jumping into the EV charger market.

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DOE’s New GSL Definition Final Rule Now Regulates Many LED Lamps

While many in the lighting industry are aware that US DOE recently issued a Final Rule for a definition change of general service lamps (GSL) as well as General Service Incandescent Lamps (GSIL), many in the industry don’t realize the impact of this expanded GSL definition on many LED lamps. Most of the public discussion around the new GSL definition focused on the addition of incandescent and halogen specialty lamps to the regulated GSL category. However, the new expanded GSL definition encompasses many LED lamps, in addition to incandescent and halogen.

While many in the lighting industry are aware that US DOE recently issued a Final Rule for a definition change of general service lamps (GSL) as well as General Service Incandescent Lamps (GSIL), many in the industry don’t realize the impact of this expanded GSL definition on many LED lamps. Most of the public discussion around the new GSL definition focused on the addition of incandescent and halogen specialty lamps to the regulated GSL category. However, the new expanded GSL definition encompasses many LED lamps, in addition to incandescent and halogen.

This means that many LED A-lamps, LED specialty lamps, and LED tube lamps will now be regulated by the DOE, in less than two months. For LED lamp manufacturers, this means self-certifying the regulated models onto DOE’s database of regulated products, known as CCMS. This is a great deal of spreadsheet work, and will be most difficult for manufacturers that have no previous experience uploaded spreadsheets to CCMS. Well-placed sources tell me that DOE will take more than two months to create the forms for manufacturers to submit all of the new regulated lamp types, thereby giving manufacturers some much needed additional time for certification compliance. It’s unlikely that the new 45 lpW “backstop” Final Rule will create problems for any LED lamps, as most are significantly above the 45 lpW requirement for GSL.

What follows is the amended GSL definition, from the April, 2022 DOE GSL Final Rule:

“General service lamp means a lamp that has an ANSI base; is able to operate at a voltage of 12 volts or 24 volts, at or between 100 to 130 volts, at or between 220 to 240 volts, or at 277 volts for integrated lamps, or is able to operate at any voltage for non-integrated lamps; has an initial lumen output of greater than or equal to 310 lumens (or 232 lumens for modified spectrum general service incandescent lamps) and less than or equal to 3,300 lumens; is not a light fixture; is not an LED downlight retrofit kit; and is used in general lighting applications. General service lamps do not include:

(1) Appliance lamps;

(2) Black light lamps;

(3) Bug lamps;

(4) Colored lamps;

(5) G shape lamps with a diameter of 5 inches or more as defined in ANSI C79.1-2002;

(6) General service fluorescent lamps;

(7) High intensity discharge lamps;

(8) Infrared lamps;

(9) J, JC, JCD, JCS, JCV, JCX, JD, JS, and JT shape lamps that do not have Edison screw bases;

(10) Lamps that have a wedge base or prefocus base;

(11) Left-hand thread lamps;

(12) Marine lamps;

(13) Marine signal service lamps;

(14) Mine service lamps;

(15) MR shape lamps that have a first number symbol equal to 16 (diameter equal to 2 inches) as defined in ANSI C79.1-2002, operate at 12 volts, and have a lumen output greater than or equal to 800;

(16) Other fluorescent lamps;

(17) Plant light lamps;

(18) R20 short lamps;

(19) Reflector lamps that have a first number symbol less than 16 (diameter less than 2 inches) as defined in ANSI C79.1-2002 and that do not have E26/E24, E26d, E26/50×39, E26/53×39, E29/28, E29/53×39, E39, E39d, EP39, or EX39 bases;

(20) S shape or G shape lamps that have a first number symbol less than or equal to 12.5 (diameter less than or equal to 1.5625 inches) as defined in ANSI C79.1-2002;

(21) Sign service lamps;

(22) Silver bowl lamps;

(23) Showcase lamps;

(24) Specialty MR lamps;

(25) T shape lamps that have a first number symbol less than or equal to 8 (diameter less than or equal to 1 inch) as defined in ANSI C79.1-2002, nominal overall length less than 12 inches, and that are not compact fluorescent lamps;

(26) Traffic signal lamps.”

 

 

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DOE Publishes Two Final Rules For GSL Definition & Backstop

The DOE published two final rules for the General Service Lamps (GSL) definition and the backstop on April 26, 2022. Before this date, the big unknown was the timing of the effective date and the dates of enforcement.

The DOE published two final rules for the General Service Lamps (GSL) definition and the backstop on April 26, 2022. Before this date, the big unknown was the timing of the effective date and the dates of enforcement.

The definition rule is effective in 60 days, and the GSL rule is effective in 75 days. Manufacturers will get enforcement leniency to allow some time for the transition. Full DOE enforcement of both rules begins January 1, 2023.

Link to DOE enforcement policy document is here.

Link to GSL Definition Final Rule is here.

Link to GSL Backstop Final Rule is here.

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Congress Debates Daylight Savings Time

Linda Longo, at US Lighting Trends, summarized the issues involved in proposed legislation to make Daylight Savings Time permanent and year-round, in the US.

Linda Longo, at US Lighting Trends, summarized the issues involved in proposed legislation to make Daylight Savings Time permanent and year-round, in the US. As of today’s date, the Senate passed its version of the bill in March, while the House of Representatives has introduced its bill, but not acted on it.

Making Daylight Savings Time permanent has significant light and health consequences, as resetting clocks significantly impacts circadian rhythms and human health:

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) – a professional society for the medical subspecialty of sleep medicine, which includes disorders of circadian rhythms – believes the U.S. should eliminate seasonal time changes in favor of a national, fixed, year-round time. According to the AASM, “current evidence best supports the adoption of year-round Standard Time, which aligns best with human circadian biology and provides distinct benefits for public health and safety.” (Read AASM’s full statement on the topic here)

Those opposed to DST are concerned by evidence that the body clock does not adjust easily to the seasonal time change even after several months. According to AASM, the worry is that “permanent DST could result in permanent phase delay, a condition that can also lead to a perpetual discrepancy between the innate biological clock and the extrinsic environmental clock, as well as chronic sleep loss due to early morning social demands that truncate the opportunity to sleep.”

There is concern that acute transition from standard time to DST could create public health and safety risks, including increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events, mood disorders, and motor vehicle crashes. The group added, “Although chronic effects of remaining in Daylight Saving Time year-round have not been well-studied, Daylight Saving Time is less aligned with human circadian biology — which, due to the impacts of the delayed natural light/dark cycle on human activity, could result in circadian misalignment, which has been associated in some studies with increased cardiovascular disease risk, metabolic syndrome, and other health risks. It is, therefore, the position of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine that these seasonal time changes should be abolished in favor of a fixed, national, year-round standard time.”

The full article is available here.

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