The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has announced landmark consensus legislation, which will, for the first time ever, set federal efficiency standards for pole-mounted outdoor lighting.

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 3 yr 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 the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will establish, must be published in a final rule by DOE no later than Jan. 1, 2013, or 33 months after enactment —— whichever is later.
  • Tier 3 standards will be established by DOE Jan. 1, 2015, with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2021.

Furthermore, the legislation will regulate two types of lamps primarily used outdoors. After Jan. 1, 2016, high output double-ended quartz halogen lamps must have a minimum efficiency of 27 LPW for lamps with a minimum rated initial lumen value of 6,000 and a maximum initial lumen value of 15,000. In addition, 34 LPW is required for lamps rated with initial lumen value greater than 15,000 and less than 40,000.

After Jan. 1, 2016, no general-purpose mercury vapor lamp may be manufactured. These are the least efficient type of high-intensity discharge (HID) lamp and can be replaced with other types of HID lamps or other lamp types. Because EPAct 2005 banned new mercury vapor fixtures and ballasts, sales have already been declining. This new provision would complete the transition away from mercury vapor lamps.

As a result of this legislation, substantial energy savings will be realized. Approximately 22% of all the electricity generated in the United States is used for lighting, and outdoor lighting represents about 20% of that total. A 2007 DOE report estimated that outdoor lighting consumes more than 178 terawatt-hours annually. By 2030, this agreement will reduce carbon emission between 4.48 and 7.95 million metric tons annually, which is equivalent to removing between 3 million and 5.4 million automobiles from the roads annually.

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Source: The National Electrical Manufacturers Association