Member companies of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s (NEMA) lighting division joined energy efficiency advocates in late October to sign a landmark agreement on energy efficiency standards. When implemented, these standards will impact the environment, save consumers billions of dollars, and circumvent unnecessary regulations.

While the agreement is subject to final rulemaking by the Department of Energy (DOE), it’s expected the joint recommendations will be accepted and written into final standards. Adoption of the standards should save between two and five quads of energy by 2030. That’s enough energy to power between 12 million and 26 million homes in the U.S. It will also result in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of between 33 million and 72 million metric tons of carbon equivalent. In a best case scenario, this would be the equivalent to removing 58 million cars from the road.

Under the terms of the agreement, new efficiency standards for electronic ballasts will go into effect on April 1, 2005. After that time, all fluorescent lamp ballasts produced by manufacturers for the commercial and industrial “new construction or renovation” market must be energy-efficient electronic ballasts that meet the new standards, rather than the older, less efficient magnetic ballasts.