Category: Legislation + Regulation

Updated GSA Requirements For Lighting In Federal Buildings

In October, 2021, the GSA published updated rules for the construction and renovation of federal buildings (excluding military buildings). The “P100” is a 316-page document outlining construction and renovation guidelines.

In October, 2021, the GSA published updated rules for the construction and renovation of federal buildings (excluding military buildings). The “P100” is a 316-page document outlining construction and renovation guidelines.

Last year’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the bi-partisan infrastructure law, authorized funding to significantly increase both new construction and renovations of federal buildings. Here are some of the new requirements that impact lighting:

  • The use of DLC-approved products to secure all available utility rebates for the GSA
  • The use of domestic construction materials (Buy American Act) for construction contracts performed in the United States (excepting waivers granted or per FAR 25.2)
  • A Gold rating in LEED certification for new construction and major renovations
  • Overall building energy efficiency that’s at least 30% higher than ASHRAE 90.1 E.C.L
  • Mandatory daylighting wherever possible

Lighting controls also figure prominently: “The GSA intends to lead the Govt. in owning and operating Smart Buildings.” An article by CREE Lighting provides additional details on changes involving: controls, exterior lighting, parking structures, and LED retrofits. Read the full article here.

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US DOE Publishes New Test Procedures For GSFL, IRL, & GSIL Lamps

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has published a Federal Register Final Rule adopting amendments to the test procedures for general service fluorescent lamps (GSFLs), incandescent reflector lamps (IRLs), and general service incandescent lamps.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has published a Federal Register Final Rule adopting amendments to the test procedures for general service fluorescent lamps (GSFLs), incandescent reflector lamps (IRLs), and general service incandescent lamps (GSILs) to:

  • update references to industry test standards and provide citations to specific sections of these standards;
  • amend definitions;
  • reference specific sections within industry test standards for further clarity;
  • provide test methods for measuring coloring rendering index (CRI) for incandescent lamps and measuring the lifetime of IRLs;
  • clarify test frequency and inclusion of cathode power in measurements for GSFLs;
  • decrease the sample size and specify all metrics for all lamps be measured from the same sample; and
  • align terminology across relevant sections of the Code of Federal Regulations relating to GSFLs, IRLs and GSILs.

The effective date of this rule is September 30, 2022. The final rule changes will be mandatory for product testing starting February 27, 2023. Find product information for General Service Fluorescent LampsIncandescent Reflector Lamps, and General Service Incandescent Lamps, including current standards and test procedures, statutory authority, waivers, exceptions and contact information.

 

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DOE Publishes Final Rule For Ceiling Fan Test Procedures

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has published a Federal Register notice amending the test procedures for ceiling fans.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has published a Federal Register notice amending the test procedures for ceiling fans. Highlighted changes include:

  • include a definition for “circulating air” for the purpose of the ceiling fan definition;
  • include ceiling fans greater than 24 feet within the scope of the test procedure;
  • include certain belt-driven ceiling fans within the scope of the test procedure;
  • specify that certain very small-diameter ceiling fans are not required to be tested;
  • maintain applicability of the standby power test procedure to large-diameter ceiling fans;
  • specify instructions for testing ceiling fans with certain accessories or features;
  • clarify test voltage for large-diameter ceiling fans;
  • amend the low-speed definition and increase low-speed tolerance for stability criteria;
  • permit an alternate set-up to collect air velocity test data and provide greater specificity regarding sensor orientation;
  • amend the blade thickness measurement requirement; update instrument measurement resolution, represented values, rounding instructions, and enforcement provisions;
  • and codify current guidance on calculating several values reported on the EnergyGuide label. DOE is also updating references to an industry test standard to reference the latest version.

The effective date of this rule is September 15, 2022. The final rule changes will be mandatory for product testing on February 13, 2023. You can find product information for Ceiling Fans here, including current standards and test procedures, statutory authority, waivers, exceptions and contact information.

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What The IRA / Climate Law Can Mean For The Green Building Industry

Last week, President Biden signed the $750 Billion Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The new law addresses inflation, climate, energy, prescription drug policy, and corporate tax changes. Roughly $370 Billion are focused on combatting climate change, including energy generation and transmission, manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, and environmental justice. 

Last week, President Biden signed the $750 Billion Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The new law addresses inflation, climate, energy, prescription drug policy, and corporate tax changes. Roughly $370 Billion are focused on combatting climate change, including energy generation and transmission, manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, and environmental justice.

Some experts predict the nation’s electricity grid will double in capacity by 2030, largely with renewables. The IRA identified Grid-Enhancing Technologies (GETs) as an important solution for clean energy integration. The law will spur the building of new transmission and maximize the efficiency of the existing grid by implementing GETs.

The IRA reinstates and expands numerous clean energy incentives with an estimated $370 billion of new energy tax credits over the next 10 years. Microgrid development also could gain a tremendous market boost as the legislation includes up to 50 percent in investment tax credits and higher production tax credits for on-site clean power development. Some experts expect the IRA provisions to cut the cost of microgrids by 10 to 50 percent.

On the energy efficiency front, the bill offers tax credits and other incentives for improving the affordability of heat pumps and electrification in the residential and commercial building sectors. Building efficiency upgrades could accelerate lighting upgrades in existing buildings.

The IRA will affect smart building construction and operation in four main areas: energy efficiency, codes and standards, energy financing, and federal investments by the General Services Administration (GSA). The IRA provides many incentives and investments to improve and manage energy use by buildings, to which smart building technology will be key. Though many of its provisions relating to residential buildings, such as tax credits for homeowners to switch to renewable energy, the bill allocates $362 million for a commercial energy efficiency tax deduction. Many think smart building technology will be required as buildings integrate with the future smart grid, renewables, and EV charging infrastructure.

The drive to improve the building code structure began in November 2021 with the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. That bipartisan law allocated $1.2 trillion for infrastructure programs and provided the DOE with $225 million over five years to fund competitive grants for “sustained cost-effective implementation of updated energy codes.” Supported by the International Code Council, the program aims to drive improvement in the implementation of energy codes, as well as water conservation and community resilience efforts. The IRA provides an additional $1 billion over 10 years for efficient building code adoption grants. Raising the bar for performance expectations will likely drive innovation and investment in more sophisticated and advanced building management and automation systems.

To distribute up to $27 billion to clean energy technologies, the IRA sets up a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF). This Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator, or green bank, is going to deploy resources in communities that haven’t previously had enough resources deployed in them.

As established in the IRA, the GGRF will give the Environmental Protection Agency administrator authority to disburse $20 billion to eligible recipients, defined as nonprofit green banks that “provide capital, including by leveraging private capital, and other forms of financial assistance for the rapid deployment of low- and zero-emission products, technologies, and services.”

Of this $20 billion allocation, $8 billion would be dedicated to financial and technical assistance for low-income and disadvantaged communities. The provision also designates $7 billion to states, municipalities, and tribal governments to drive local investments in sustainability and efficiency—and smarten up their buildings.

Along with the incentives and funding for the private sector, the federal government plans to invest $250 million through the GSA to convert buildings owned or managed by the agency to high-performance building standards. The impact will be significant due to the sheer size of the GSA, which has an annual operating budget of $33 billion, oversees $66 billion in procurement annually, and manages approximately 8,700 owned and leased buildings. Its large footprint has enabled the GSA to become an influential leader in high-performance building and sustainable design efforts. Funding to improve the operations of GSA building stock will almost certainly involve upgrades in building management and other smart building technologies as part of the agency’s efforts to improve the operations of its significant portfolio.

The IRA helps consumers through a $9 billion home energy rebate program for buying electric home appliances and retrofits. Much of these allocations focus on low-income consumers.

The next decade could accelerate public sector assistance in rooftop solar, electric heating and cooling, and electric water heaters. Individuals who buy used electric vehicles could receive $4,000 in tax credits and $7,500 if they acquire a new EV.

Last year’s $1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated $65 billion toward electric grid transmission infrastructure upgrades and construction. It also contained a $7.5 billion investment to build out a national network of EV chargers.

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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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