New Lighting Regulations

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New legislation signed into law at the end of 2007 seeks to drive greater energy-efficiency standards and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in the United States. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 does not include all that many stipulations directly related to lighting. Two that do, however, are significant.

One effectively eliminates the manufacture of most common general-service incandescent lamps (with the exemption of certain decorative and specialty lamps) by mandating increased efficiency standards. The other virtually eliminates the manufacture of 150W to 500W probe-start metal-halide magnetic-ballasted fixtures.

“The first product to be regulated [based on provisions in the new bill] that may affect store lighting involves incandescent reflector lamps, which some retailers use for accent lighting,” said Joe Howley, manager of industry relations and environmental marketing, GE Consumer & Industrial. “R40s and R30s are being regulated, with the highest wattage restricted to a maximum of 65 watts. R20s, which some retailers may use on a small shelf or the like, are being restricted down to 45 watts.”

The restrictions on the incandescent reflector lamps are being implemented in the first six months of 2008.

“Generally speaking, these restrictions will have a minimal impact on retailers,” Howley said. “Retailers will still be able to use halogen IR Par lamps or standard halogen lamps.”

The new provisions regarding general-purpose incandescent lamps will require manufacturers to increase the efficiency of common 40W, 60W, 75W and 100W light bulbs by approximately 30%. The regulation will take effect beginning in January 2012, starting with 100W lamps, and continuing through January 2014. Manufacturers are already planning on introducing a variety of new incandescent and halogen products to meet the regulations.

In other restrictions, starting Jan. 1, 2009, manufacturers can no longer make electromagnetic ballasts for 4-ft. or 8-ft. T12 linear fluorescent lamps.

“In 2009, the restrictions will only pertain to new fixtures, which I would hope no retailers are buying anyway,” Howley said. “But starting June 30, 2010, we can no longer make those ballasts even for replacement in existing systems.”

This last restriction will pose a problem for retailers that have not upgraded their lighting for some time and are still using old T12 linear fluorescent systems to light their stores.

“The end result is that retailers that, for whatever reason, haven’t renovated their stores in years will have to change their lighting system whether they want to or not,” Howley explained.

The restrictions on electromagnetic ballasts are contained in the EPACT legislation. The most recent energy bill contains additional stipulations, and will, as of Jan. 1, 2009, require that nearly all new metal-halide fixtures come with an electronic or pulse-start ballast.

“You will no longer be able to get a basic metal-halide fixture with an old probe-start ballast,” Howley said. “Existing metal-halide systems, however, are not affected. You will still be able to get replacement ballasts.”

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