Category: Legislation + Regulation

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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Section 301 Tariffs Could Expire And USTR Reinstates Some Exclusions

According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), the first $34 billion of Section 301 tariffs on products coming from China have been in place for almost 4 years.

Tariffs Could Expire If No USTR Action

According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), the first $34 billion of Section 301 tariffs on products coming from China have been in place for almost 4 years. Before their fourth year is up, they are required to undergo a Congressionally-mandated effectiveness review. The tariffs could expire if the review is not completed by September 4, 2022.

The review will be conducted by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) as set forth in the Trade Act of 1974. President Biden’s USTR has allowed the Trump-era tariffs to remain in place. The Chinese government has not lived up to its commitments in the Phase One trade deal.

Over the last four years, tariffs have cost America nearly $130 billion dollars. The subsequent Section 301 tariffs will also follow a similar path, as their four-year anniversaries approach, in the months ahead.

USTR Reinstates Some Exclusions

As the Section 301 tariffs have evolved, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) created and implemented a tariff exclusion process. To date, USTR has approved 549 requested exclusions, but all of those have since expired.

After six months of urging by industry, USTR has reinstated 352 of the original 549 exclusions. The reinstated exclusions are retroactive to Oct. 12, 2021, and will be in effect for the remainder of 2022. The full list of reinstated exclusions is here.

Identified exclusions impacting lighting:

8536.50.9065
Modular light switches, for a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V, presented in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) housings, designed for use with a backplate

8536.90.4000
Twist-on wire connectors, for a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V, each valued not over $0.03

8543.70.9960 prior to January 27, 2022, or 8543.70.9860 effective January 27, 2022
Apparatus using passive infrared detection sensors designed for turning lights on and off

9405.40.8440 prior to January 27, 2022, or 9405.42.8440 effective January 27, 2022
Flexible strips, each having embedded light-emitting diodes electrically connected to a molded electrical end connector, each strip wound onto a reel measuring not more than 25 cm in diameter and not more than 1.5 cm in width.

 

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Federal COVID Relief Funding Enables Intelligent Lighting Installation At A Community College

Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) announced it is modernizing buildings across its four campuses and the West Hills Center, as well as its building automation system, with occupancy sensing, improved LED lighting control systems, and Internet of Things (IoT) platform as part of a COVID-19 mitigation initiative and infrastructure upgrade from Enlighted, a part of Building Robotics Inc., a Siemens company.

Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) announced it is modernizing buildings across its four campuses and the West Hills Center, as well as its building automation system, with occupancy sensing, improved LED lighting control systems, and Internet of Things (IoT) platform as part of a COVID-19 mitigation initiative and infrastructure upgrade from Enlighted, a part of Building Robotics Inc., a Siemens company. Funded by the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) and accelerated by the need to help minimize COVID-19 exposure, the implementation will help increase the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the community while creating a smart, connected campus prepared for the future.

The initiative will retrofit indoor spaces spanning more than 1.8 million square feet with an LED lighting and controls system consisting of 17,000 Enlighted IoT sensors across four campuses, and thirteen buildings. The IoT sensors, located in the lighting fixtures, will connect to Enlighted’s Data as a Service (DaaS) offering, Space, which will provide occupancy and utilization insights to lower energy usage and costs and make strides in furthering CCAC’s sustainability initiatives.

Benefits that CCAC will obtain by modernizing all building spaces include:

  • Automated operation that will adapt based on the use of the spaces by students, faculty and staff
  • Data insights and analytics to help direct campus cleaning and sanitation efforts for high traffic areas
  • Ensuring proper ventilation of air in spaces that are occupied
  • Understanding of space usage to help achieve social distancing and meet local capacity requirements
  • Analysis of space utilization for facilities planning and reduction or new construction guidance

The full article is available here.

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Denver Ordinance First To Require Decarbonization & Energy Efficiency For All Buildings >25,000 Sq. Ft.

The City of Denver recently approved an ordinance requiring all commercial and multifamily buildings to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by improving energy efficiency, renewable energy, and building electrification.

The City of Denver recently approved an ordinance requiring all commercial and multifamily buildings to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by improving energy efficiency, renewable energy, and building electrification. The City Council says the ordinance makes Denver the first to require the measures for all buildings. The ordinance will make a significant dent in buildings emissions, the city says, reducing them by nearly 80% by 2040. Buildings account for 49% of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions and Denver has a goal of reaching net-zero energy by 2040.

The regulations were unanimously passed by the Denver City Council. They had no formal opposition and support from the local commercial real estate association. The ordinance requires buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to reach 30% energy savings by 2030 with interim goals for 2024 and 2027 to measure progress. The ordinance also requires gradual adoption of electric heating and cooling systems to replace gas-powered systems when cost-effective.

Additionally, the ordinance calls for buildings between 5,000 square feet and 25,000 square feet to install all LED lighting by 2030 or get at least 20% of its electricity from solar sources.

Other communities have taken on similar initiatives to improve energy efficiency. The city will hold a hearing in January to approve rules for the regulations.

For the full article, click here.

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Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Deduction (179D) Made Permanent

With everything going on with the pandemic in late 2020 and early 2021, few in the lighting industry noticed a major change to the Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction, aka Section 179D.

With everything going on with the pandemic in late 2020 and early 2021, few in the lighting industry noticed a major change to the Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction, aka Section 179D. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 made the Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Deduction a permanent part of the Internal Revenue Code while also raising the bar on energy efficiency standards. Section 179D deductions are now indexed for inflation for taxable years beginning after 2020. Baseline standards were raised to the most recently published ASHRAE standards.

Section 179D previously applied to structures placed in service after 2005 and before January 1, 2021. However, the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 — part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA 2021) that was signed into law December 27, 2020 — made the Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Deduction permanent and materially altered certain Section 179D provisions.

The CAA 2021 inserted a provision that provides an inflation adjustment for this deduction for years after 2020. This adjustment uses the C-CPI-U (Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers), with the base year of 2019. Adjustments of the $0.60 or $1.80 per square foot deduction are rounded to the nearest cent.

The legislation also updated the baseline standards in an effort to encourage building owners and designers to enhance the energy efficiency of buildings. Previously, ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007 was used as the benchmark to test the energy efficiency of the buildings or the sub-components of the building. Now, Section 179D(c) is amended to use ASHRAE “Reference Standard 90.1,” which is defined as the most recent Standard 90.1 published by ASHRAE and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. This standard must have been affirmed by the Secretary of the Treasury (after consultation with the Secretary of Energy) no later than two years before the date that construction of such property begins.

This provision permits the ASHRAE standards to update without requiring further legislation. However, the aforementioned two-year provision can help to avoid unexpected changes during the construction, design, and planning process, as the reference standard cannot be more recent than the standard from two years prior to the beginning of construction of the subject building.

For the full article, click here.

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Cities Getting Serious About Light Pollution

New York City enacted two new laws aimed at curbing light pollution for City-owned properties. The proposed legislation allows for exemptions for landmark buildings – enabling the Empire State Building’s color-changing fixtures to continue illuminating the top 30 stories.

New York City enacted two new laws aimed at curbing light pollution for City-owned properties. The proposed legislation allows for exemptions for landmark buildings – enabling the Empire State Building’s color-changing fixtures to continue illuminating the top 30 stories.

In mid-December, NYC enacted the following two laws:

  1. Nighttime illumination during peak bird migration periods (Int 0274-2018)
    The law requires that all non-essential outdoor lighting in buildings owned by the City, or in leased buildings where the City is the only tenant, be turned off between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. during peak avian migration periods. The City is also mandated to use its best efforts to include provisions in lease negotiations to require non-essential outdoor lighting be turned off between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. during peak aviation migration periods for buildings where the City is not the only tenant.
  2. Reducing unnecessary illumination in city-owned spaces (Int 1781-2019)
    This bill requires the installation of occupancy sensors to limit illumination in buildings owned by New York City (City-owned buildings). This requirement applies to spaces in at least 25% of City-owned buildings by 2023; at least 40% of such buildings by 2025; at least 75% of such buildings by 2027; and all such buildings by 2030. This bill also requires periodic reporting regarding compliance with the requirements of this bill.

Two additional bills to reduce light pollution in private buildings are being considered. The full story is here.

*****

The City of Pittsburgh enacted a “Dark Sky Lighting” ordinance, in August, for all city parks, facilities and streetlights. The ordinance addresses the use of technology, lower color temperature and shielding to minimize the use of outdoor lighting, to only that needed for comfort and safety.

Under the ordinance, the City will adhere to Dark Sky principles for its newly installed or retrofitted streetlights, newly constructed and renovated park spaces and playgrounds as well as newly constructed and renovated City-owned buildings.

The City of Pittsburgh developed the ordinance with assistance and support from the International Dark-Sky Association, Biophilic Cities Network, Carnegie Mellon University and local partners.

The full story is here.

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DOE Issues a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Request for Comment Pertaining to General Service Lamps 

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a pre-publication Federal Register notice proposing to codify in the Code of Federal Regulations the 45 lumens per watt backstop requirement for general service lamps that Congress prescribed in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, as amended.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a pre-publication Federal Register notice proposing to codify in the Code of Federal Regulations the 45 lumens per watt backstop requirement for general service lamps that Congress prescribed in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, as amended.

DOE proposes this backstop requirement applies because DOE failed to complete a rulemaking regarding general service lamps in accordance with certain statutory criteria.

Find product information for General Service Lamps including current standards and test procedures, statutory authority, waivers, exceptions and contact information.

DOE will accept comments, data, and information regarding this notice until 45 days after date of publication in the Federal Register. DOE will send a follow-up e-mail once the notice publishes to announce the closing date of the comment period. Interested persons may submit comments identified by docket number EERE–2021–BT–STD-0005, by email (GSL2021STD0005@ee.doe.gov), Federal eRulemaking portal.

As the backstop has the potential to virtually eliminate the majority of remaining incandescent general lamps–notably halogen A-lamps–it’s a very significant ruling.

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