The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Rosslyn, Va., recently created the NEMA Premium Ballast Program. According to NEMA, the program's goal is to provide a method of distinguishing the most efficient T8 fluorescent ballasts available on the market and to identify models that are consistent with the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), Boston, specifications for high-performance lamps and ballasts, tested in accordance with ANSI C82 Standards.

Products eligible to participate in the new NEMA Premium Electronic Ballast Program include either instant-start or programmed rapid-start electronic ballasts designed for use with 4-foot, 32-watt T8 fluorescent lamps. In addition, products qualifying for this program will bear a special mark.

NEMA says the program not only promotes a more energy-efficient environment, but also assists lighting professionals and end-users in recognizing the highest performing ballast products on the market. By making high-efficiency ballasts readily identifiable, NEMA anticipates that the program will help alleviate market and supply-chain barriers that inhibit higher penetration of energy-efficient ballasts nationwide.