In the future, retailers will have more limited options when it comes to lighting their stores as a result of new energy standards for commercial (and household) lamps and lighting equipment. The changes are expected to result in the avoidance of up to 594 million tons of CO2 emissions from 2012 through 2042.
The new standards were issued by the U.S. Department of Energy and take effect July 14, 2012. They focus on general service fluorescent lamps (GSFL), and incandescent (and halogen) reflector lamps. The lamps represent approximately 38% and 7% of total lighting energy use respectively, according to DOE.
“The new energy standards will directly impact retailers still using T12 fluorescent lamps for general lighting and those using incandescent/halogen reflector lamps for accent and display lighting,” said Craig DiLouie, education director, Lighting Controls Association (LCA), Rosslyn, Va.
The new rules will basically eliminate products with the lowest efficiency and lowest cost, according to the LCA, and result in a new baseline of more efficient lamps that may provide additional performance benefits such as higher color rendering and longer service life.
In the case of fluorescent lamps, equivalent-performance products are already easily available, such as T8 lamps, and the market is expected to continue to shift to that and other technologies.
With regard to 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.
Fluorescents: The government has been regulating fluorescent lamps since the Energy Policy Act of 1992. The new rules expand on the regulations by making the energy-efficiency standards stricter for each lamp type, while adding 8-ft.T8 lamps, 4-ft.T5 lamps and a broader range of wattages for 4-ft.T8 and T12 lamps. The least-efficient and lowest-cost products—including most 4-ft. linear and 2-ft. U-shaped T12 lamps, many 8-ft. T12 and T12HO and some lower-color-rendering 4-ft.T8 lamps—will no longer be manufactured, resulting in fewer, higher-priced products being available, according to the LCA.
“In the case of fluorescent lamps, virtually all existing products will be eliminated except for some high-CRI and specialty lamps, and retailers will have to shift to more efficient options, such as T8 lighting,” DiLouie explained. “This will require a change in ballast as well, as each lamp type requires a dedicated ballast. It also affords the opportunity to change out the light fixtures and relight stores to modern lighting best practice, addressing not only energy, but other issues such as light distribution and glare.”
Products that don’t comply will be prohibited from manufacture in the United States. However, non-compliant lamps may continue to be available for some time after the regulation’s start date, the LCA advised, as distributors will not be prohibited from selling them.
Incandescents: With regard to incandescent reflector lamps, the new standards cover reflector lamps with medium-screw (E26) bases, 115-130V, 40-205W and greater than 2.5 in. diameter. Many incandescent and halogen reflector lamps (R, PAR, BR, ER, BPAR and similar bulb shapes) will be eliminated in favor of more-efficient infrared-coated halogen lamps. Additionally, 130V products, typically used on 120V systems to approximately double lamp life at a cost of 15% less light output, will also be eliminated.
Retailers that need lamps that provide the same qualities as halogen can switch to qualifying infrared-coated lamps, which are more efficient and may expand with new options after the DOE rules take effect, DiLouie advised.
“Retailers might also want to consider other options such as compact fluorescent, self-ballasted metal halide and LED,” he added. “Although these technologies currently do not provide performance equivalent to halogen, they are suitable for many retail lighting tasks that match their particular strengths. And they are constantly improving.”