Lighting Update May Eliminate Popular Lamps

April 9, 2018

Most halogens and incandescents on the market can’t meet the 2020 requirements

The lighting energy efficiency standard that takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020, will eliminate most of the existing incandescent and halogen light bulbs in the U.S. from the market.

The standard is part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which introduced a two-tiered set of lighting mandates. The first tier was phased in between 2012 and 2014 and required bulbs to use 25-30% less energy than the original incandescents. The second tier, which becomes effective in 2020, requires general service light bulbs to achieve 45 lumens per watt. That means low wattage light bulbs must use about 65% less energy to create the same amount of light as a comparable predecessor. For example, a replacement for a 60W incandescent light bulb could only use about 18W.

Lamps Reaching the Benchmark

However, none of the current products can meet that benchmark. Barring a sea change in the way incandescents and halogens are manufactured, the only lamps of those two light bulb types that will survive the implementation are non-general-service models like the ones used for appliances, marine applications and traffic signaling.

“As a practical matter, incandescent bulbs will likely be phased out unless a manufacturer can redesign the bulb and bring a qualifying version to the market,” says the Natural Resources Defense Council, a not-for-profit organization that advocates for cleaner air, water and communities. “Since LED light bulbs look and perform the same as incandescents – but last longer and lower energy bills – they will almost certainly become the bulb of choice.”

Lighting Ready for 2020

Most compact fluorescent lamps can meet the efficacy requirement, but are losing market share to LEDs anyway, explains the Association of Energy Services Professionals. In the meantime, the California Energy Commission started implementing the standards on Jan. 1, 2018, in an attempt to accelerate the transition to LED light bulbs.

“The California general service lamp standards allow retailers to sell through inventories of older, less efficient bulbs,” explains Chris Granda, Senior Researcher and Advocate at the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, a coalition of energy efficiency proponents. “Halogen bulbs may continue to be available on California store shelves for some months.”

The Department of Energy is currently weighing which categories of lamps may need additional time to comply with the standard, according to a statement by the department. “DOE is committed to continuing its active dialogue with industry [and] can issue a policy that provides the necessary flexibility by lamp category based on sufficient manufacturer information,” the department says. “DOE plans to engage in meetings and other stakeholder outreach prior to such required compliance and will keep stakeholders apprised of its plans to issue such a policy.”

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About the Author

Janelle Penny | Editor-in-Chief at BUILDINGS

Janelle Penny has been with BUILDINGS since 2010. She is a two-time FOLIO: Eddie award winner who aims to deliver practical, actionable content for building owners and facilities professionals.

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