Category: Legislation + Regulation

NEMA Announces Consensus Legislative Proposal on Outdoor Lighting Standards

The 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…

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.

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Federal Trade Commission Proposes New Light Bulb Labels

The FTC has proposed new labeling requirements for lamps in response to a congressional mandate to provide consumers with clear, easily understandable information to help them choose among different bulb…

Big ideaThe FTC has proposed new labeling requirements for lamps in response to a congressional mandate to provide consumers with clear, easily understandable information to help them choose among different bulb types as traditional lamps compete with CFLs and newer LED lamps.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking announced on October 27 seeks comment on new labels that emphasize lumens, not watts, as the measure of lamp brightness. This information, along with estimated energy cost information, would appear on the front of the light bulb package. The back of the package would display a “Lighting Facts” label modeled after the “Nutrition Facts” label for food packages. The Lighting Facts label would provide information about brightness, energy cost, the bulb’s expected life, color temperature (for example, whether the bulb provides “warm” or “cool” light), as well as wattage. The label also would require disclosures for bulbs containing mercury. The bulb’s output in lumens–and a mercury disclosure for bulbs that contain mercury–would also have to be placed on the bulb itself.

Sounds interesting. It also provides a big incentive for consumers to become more educated about lighting. My question is: Who’s going to educate them?

Learn more about what the FTC is looking for from public comments herehere. As usual when dealing with the government, the actual process of commenting is unclear; contact the FTC for more information. The FTC File No. is P084206 and the staff contact is Hampton Newsome, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2889.

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IES Hartford Section to Host Model Lighting Ordinance Seminar on October 29, 2009

This month, the IES Hartford Section is presenting the Fall 2009 update and final draft of the Model Lighting Ordinance, sometimes called the “Dark Sky regulations.” The guest speaker is…

This month, the IES Hartford Section is presenting the Fall 2009 update and final draft of the Model Lighting Ordinance, sometimes called the “Dark Sky regulations.” The guest speaker is Leo Smith (Northeast Regional Director of the International Dark Sky Association), who served on the IDA/IESNA joint task force that developed the current MLO.

To register, click here.

October 29th IESNA Event Type Final

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NEMA Updates Commercial Buildings Deduction Website

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of working with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association on a revision of their website detailing features, benefits and rules of implementation for the…

buildingsEarlier this year, I had the pleasure of working with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association on a revision of their website detailing features, benefits and rules of implementation for the Commercial Buildings Deduction. Congress recently extended the expiration date for this important energy efficiency incentive to January 1, 2014.

Check out the new and improved website here.

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Explained: The New DOE Rules on Fluorescent and Incandescent Reflector Lamps

In July 2009, the Department of Energy issued new energy efficiency standards for commercial general-service fluorescent lamps and incandescent (and halogen) reflector lamps. The new rules take effect July 14,…

In July 2009, the Department of Energy issued new energy efficiency standards for commercial general-service fluorescent lamps and incandescent (and halogen) reflector lamps. The new rules take effect July 14, 2012 and will basically eliminate products with the lowest efficiency and lowest cost.

In the case of fluorescent lamps, equivalent-performance products are readily available, such as T8 lamps, and the market is expected to shift to that and other technologies.

In the case of incandescent reflector lamps, only a few equivalent-performance products are readily available that comply, such as infrared-coated halogen lamps, and manufacturers are expected to develop new substitutes.

This is the subject of my latest whitepaper written for the Lighting Controls Association.

Check it out here.

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NLB: Upcoming Ballast Phaseout to Create Major Lighting Upgrade Opportunity

Despite strong, on-going sales of 4-ft. T12 fluorescent lamps, the magnetic ballasts commonly used for the lamps’ operation will start becoming relics of the past on July 1, 2010, when…

Despite strong, on-going sales of 4-ft. T12 fluorescent lamps, the magnetic ballasts commonly used for the lamps’ operation will start becoming relics of the past on July 1, 2010, when their continued manufacture for commercial and industrial applications becomes prohibited by DOE ballast efficiency regulations.

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According to the National Lighting Bureau, the July 1, 2010 date marks the last step of a multi-step phase-out that began on July 1, 2005, the date when ballast manufacturers could no longer sell T12 magnetic ballasts for use in new fixtures with full-wattage T12 lamps. March 31, 2006 was the last day lighting-fixture manufacturers could incorporate the ballasts in new fixtures with full-wattage T12 lamps. And on July 1, 2010, the manufacture of T12 magnetic ballasts solely for replacement purposes will cease.

Click here to learn more about the phaseout rules.

National Lighting Bureau Vice Chair Susan Bloom (Philips Lighting and Philips Lighting Electronics) commented, “T12 fluorescent technology is 70 years old and is generally considered outdated when compared to the far more efficient T8 and T5 fluorescent technologies currently available. Nonetheless, industry sales data reveal that less-efficient T12s still account for three out of every ten four-foot fluorescent lamps sold in the U.S. This means that literally millions of existing T12 fluorescent lighting sockets will have to be upgraded sooner rather than later, because the lack of these replacement ballasts will make T12 lighting harder to maintain. The good news is that owners and managers of America’s commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities who still rely on T12 lighting can rest assured that there are high-performing and more energy-efficient lighting technologies readily available to them that will also serve to support our national goals of energy independence and a clean environment.”

Bloom explained that facility owners and managers will reap significant benefits from energy-efficient lighting upgrades. These benefits include energy savings of as high as 48%, attractive 2- to 3-year simple paybacks, reduced maintenance costs and concerns, and the knowledge that they are supporting the environment and promoting sustainable lighting design. They can also derive additional benefits if their lighting upgrades qualify for the federal tax incentives available through the Commercial Building Tax Deduction established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Some states also offer incentive programs and, in many areas of the nation, utility incentive programs also are available.

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“Very simply, there has never been a better time for end users to capitalize on their lighting upgrade opportunities,” said Bloom.

Managers of facilities whose lighting fixtures incorporate T12 lamps and magnetic ballasts can select from several upgrade alternatives. These include replacing the existing magnetic ballasts with electronic ballasts; modifying the fixtures to accept T8 lamps and electronic ballasts; and replacing the existing fixtures altogether, relying on contemporary T8 or T5 units with electronic ballasts, or, possibly, a different technology altogether.

“The input of an experienced lighting professional will be of great value here,” Bloom said. “A carefully managed project designed and implemented by knowledgeable, skilled professionals will help ensure realization of anticipated results and keep facility disruptions to a minimum.”

Bloom noted that, as part of the detailed facility audit that typically precedes an upgrade, an experienced lighting-system designer or industry professional should be able to identify effective upgrade solutions and prepare a cost-benefit analysis of each. She added that upgrades also create the opportunity to “provide the improvements in lighting quality that can boost output and employee morale, reduce work-related errors, promote increased retail sales, enhance safety and security, and elevate aesthetics and ambiance.”

An interactive list of lighting-system designers who provide service throughout the United States, as well as CBTD lighting system certifiers, is available at the NLB website here.

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Are There Incandescent Lamps That Comply with The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007?

Starting January 1, 2012, 100W bulbs will be regulated, followed by 75W bulbs in 2013 and 40W and 60W bulbs in 2014. I have been writing for some time that…

Starting January 1, 2012, 100W bulbs will be regulated, followed by 75W bulbs in 2013 and 40W and 60W bulbs in 2014.

I have been writing for some time that besides the exemptions, at least one incandescent/halogen product currently complies with the Act’s efficiency standards, which is Philips’ Halogena Energy Saver/Energy Advantage halogen screw-base lamp available in 40W, 50W and 70W versions to replace 60W, 75W and 90-100W incandescent lamps, respectively, to produce about 30% energy savings; light output may be reduced by up to about 10%. The lamps are compatible with incandescent dimmers and are rated at 100 CRI and 3,000-hour service life.

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The 40W and 70W models, marketed under the Halogena Energy Saver brand, are currently sold to consumers through Home Depot. The 40W, 50W and 70W models, marketed under the Halogena Energy Advantage brand, are currently sold to professionals through distribution.

As for me, I’ll be using this lamp or anything like it that’s available, as my experience with dimmable CFLs has been terrible, and I’d rather not tear all the dimmers out of my house and throw them into the garbage. With an energy-saving halogen, I can get an equivalent technology instead of having to switch to CFLs, enjoy 30% energy savings and compliance with the 2007 Energy Act, and gain an additional 20% energy savings and higher satisfaction with my lighting through dimming. I just hope Philips starts offering these lamps to consumers in Canada, as that’s where I’ve lived since 2003.

Now it appears that OSRAM may have a similar halogen bulb, at least in Europe. Hat tip to Bill Attardi, who turned me on to the article where I found this gem.

I subsequently wrote to Sylvania, and they confirmed that they do have a new halogen line that will be available in the U.S. and Canada over the next few months. Called Halogen SuperSaver, the products will be EISA 2007-compliant.

Now all the major lamp companies have to do is get these bulbs up to 45 lumens/W, and we may be able to enjoy incandescent light through 2020!

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LightNOW Commercial Buildings Deduction Survey: Some Conclusions

Several weeks ago, I conducted a short survey of lighting practitioners to see how they are using the Commercial Buildings Deduction. I got a very small response on the new…

Several weeks ago, I conducted a short survey of lighting practitioners to see how they are using the Commercial Buildings Deduction. I got a very small response on the new construction side of the industry and a high response on the retrofit side. As the former lacked a statistically valid sample on which to make any conclusions, my lighting industry survey became a retrofit market survey. In my second post for today, I present the results in detail. In this post, I would like to share a few thoughts.

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Although there appears to be good recognition of the CBD across the lighting market, the CBD appears to have a stronger penetration in the retrofit market than new construction/ renovation, even though the bilevel switching requirement is much less expensive in a new construction situation, and using the Interim Lighting Rule, specifiers can achieve a deduction for simply complying with ASHRAE 90.1-2004/2007.

The hassle factor and complexity of the requirements are significant, but the overwhelming barrier is lack of client interest. Either the client is not aware of the benefit or it is not compelling enough.

This may be strengthened by a perception that government buildings do not qualify or have no interest (no direct benefit). Further, the specifier may expect the owner to bring it to the table, may not build in sufficient fees to cover their end of the paperwork, and often find it difficult to calculate the benefit to the client because they don’t know the client’s tax rate and therefore can’t clearly articulate a specific direct benefit to the client.

On the retrofit side, things are more positive: The average respondent qualified for and obtained the CBD on about 44% of projects in 2008. One final item of interest to product manufacturers is that nearly nine out of 10 respondents (86%) do not cite “cannot find options to produce the desired energy savings” as a significant barrier, suggesting that the lighting community regards manufacturers as providing suitable solutions.

Regarding policy and as suggested by this research, the following suggestions might prove helpful to strengthen this policy:

* Consolidate all regulations into a single IRS document that is clearly worded and includes resources to answer potential questions from the market.

* Formally recognize the Interim Lighting Rule as the Special Lighting Rule, as it is no longer Interim.

* Remove the bilevel switching requirement from the Interim Lighting Rule and require the automatic shutoff requirements of ASHRAE 90.1-1999, which would be more suitable for a retrofit project.

* Clarify the new regulations for the Permanent Rule. Does lighting have to produce 16-2/3% savings or 20%? Nobody seems to know.

* And most important: Make the tax deduction a tax credit. That’ll get the attention of the private sector.

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LightNOW Survey: 44% of Projects by LightNOW Readers Specializing in Retrofit Market Qualify for Commercial Buildings Deduction

On August 3, an email blast was distributed to the approx. 11,500 subscribers of LightNOW inviting them to take a spot survey in which they would be asked to report…

On August 3, an email blast was distributed to the approx. 11,500 subscribers of LightNOW inviting them to take a spot survey in which they would be asked to report data about their awareness and use of the tax incentives related to lighting.

After the mailing, 356 subscribers responded. Respondents were first qualified to those who own/manage, recommend, approve, specify, design, install or maintain lighting for commercial buildings in the United States. Manufacturers, sales representatives, educators, students and other industry participants were disqualified. This produced a sample of 272.

This sample was further refined in two ways. First, only those respondents who are aware that the Commercial Buildings Deduction exists were qualified to take the survey. Second, only those respondents who have or whose firm has, over the past two years, completed a project for which the Deduction was obtained from the following list: retrofit (lighting upgrade), new construction/renovation, and retrofit AND new construction/renovation.

For this portion of the study, the responses were filtered to isolate those respondents answering “retrofit (lighting upgrade).” This population, called “retrofit market,” yielded 35 respondents, a statistically valid sample. In contrast, a similar effort to isolate respondents who have completed new construction/renovation projects did not produce a large enough sample for statistical accuracy, which is itself suggestive.
The survey results are statistically projectable, within a reasonable margin of error, to reflect the behavior and opinions of the parent population, which is the LightNOW list (it is therefore suggestive, but not reflective, of the universe of all lighting retrofit practitioners). This means that some bias may be present: For example, LightNOW reaches the segment of the market prequalified as interested in lighting enough to subscribe to a newsletter.

RETROFIT MARKET EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

• A majority of respondents (77%) are aware that the Commercial Buildings Deduction has been extended to 2013.

• The average respondent reports being “somewhat knowledgeable” about the Commercial Buildings Deduction overall and the Interim Lighting Rule and the Permanent Rule specifically.

• Nearly four out of 10 respondents (37%) do not know whether their qualifying projects applied for the Commercial Buildings Deduction using the Interim Lighting Rule, Permanent Rule or both. More than four out of 10 (43%) report that the Deduction has been applied for their projects using the Interim Lighting Rule.

• The average (weighted) respondent qualified for and obtained the Commercial Buildings Deduction on about 44% of projects in 2008.

• Lack of awareness or interest by the owner is the highest-ranked reason (45%) respondents have not applied the Commercial Buildings Deduction to more projects.

• Other significant reasons include difficulty in applying bilevel switching to existing buildings (31%) and proposing projects including a specific benefit because the respondent doesn’t know their client’s tax rate (31%).

• Nearly nine out of 10 respondents (86%) do not cite “cannot find options to produce the required energy savings,” suggesting that the retrofit community regards the lighting industry as providing suitable solutions.

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Next question: Approximately what percentage of you firm’s overall projects qualified and applied for the Commercial Buildings Deduction last year? (If you are a building owner/facility manager, leave this answer blank.)

The average (weighted) respondent qualified for and obtained the Commercial Buildings Deduction on 43.6% of projects last year.

lightnow-cbd-5

OTHER RESPONSES (OPEN-ENDED):

“Even though the energy savings and tax deduction are good some clients are cash poor right now.”

“Not dealing with the building owner. Lighting project and electric bills are paid by tenants not owners.”

“Much of the decision to pursue lies with the tax accountant, so it’s not always motivating to the decision maker.”

“Does not apply, or we are not aware of how the products are being used.”

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Brandston Article Takes Aim at Energy Regulations, Published by Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal has published a new opinion editorial by legendary lighting designer Howard Brandston taking aim at mandates to use compact fluorescent lamps in the home, and also…

brandstonThe Wall Street Journal has published a new opinion editorial by legendary lighting designer Howard Brandston taking aim at mandates to use compact fluorescent lamps in the home, and also pending legislation that would make energy codes much stricter than today. I’m proud to call Howard a client. I was pleased to work with him to help develop the article, which appeared in today’s issue.

Get the article online here.

If you don’t like the idea of having to use CFLs throughout your house, don’t just tell the government, though. Tell the lamp manufacturers you want them to continue to make incandescent lamps, and to improve lamp efficiency. Or simply buy Philips’ energy-saving version of the Halogena, at least while it still complies until even tighter mandates come after 2012-2014.

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