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NEMA announces consensus legislative proposal on outdoor lighting standards


November 5, 2009
By Anthony Capkun

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) announced what it calls “ground-breaking consensus legislation” that will “for the first time ever, set federal efficiency standards for pole-mounted outdoor lighting”.

Making the announcement were Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM); Senator Lisa
Murkowski (R-AK); Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR); Representative Jane Harman
(D-CA); Representative Fred Upton (R-MI); Evan Gaddis, NEMA President
and CEO; Steve Nadel, Executive Director, American Council for an
Energy-Efficient Economy; and Lane Burt, Manager, Building Energy
Policy, Natural Resources Defense Council.

The consensus proposal is the result of input from lighting
manufacturers, designers, energy advocates and utilities. 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 (DoE), must be published in a final rule by DoE 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 primarily used
outdoors. After January 1, 2016, high output double-ended quartz
halogen lamps (a type of high-wattage incandescent lamp) must have a
minimum efficiency of 27 LPW for lamps with a minimum-rated initial
lumen value of 6000, and a maximum initial lumen value of 15,000. Also,
34 LPW 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-vapour lamp may be
manufactured. These are the least-efficient type of high-intensity
discharge (HID) lamp, says NEMA, and can be replaced with other types
of HID lamps or other lamp types. EPAct 2005 banned new mercury-vapour
fixtures and ballasts, so sales have already been declining. This new
provision would complete the transition away from mercury-vapour lamps.

NEMA feels the legislation will yield substantial energy savings. About
22% of all the electricity generated in the United States is used for
lighting, cites the association, with outdoor lighting representing
about 20% of that total. It quotes a 2007 DOE report, which estimates
outdoor lighting consumes more than 178 TWh annually.

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