United States lighting energy policy

Last updated
U.S. Lighting Energy Policy
Related LawsPub.L. 110-140
Signed into law byPresident George W. Bush
Date signedDecember 19, 2007

United States Lighting Energy Policy is moving towards increased efficiency in order to lower greenhouse gas emissions and energy use. Lighting efficiency improvements in the United States can be seen through different standards and acts. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 laid out changes in lighting legislation for the United States. This set up performance standards and the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs in order to require the use of more efficient fluorescent lighting. EISA 2007 is an effort to increase lighting efficiency by 25-30%. Opposition to EISA 2007 is demonstrated by the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act and the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act. The efforts to increase lighting efficiency are also demonstrated by the Energy Star program and the increase efficiency goals by 2011 and 2013.


Incandescent light bulbs

As of 2011, incandescent lighting was the most common type used in homes, delivering about 85% of household illumination. [1] To produce light, incandescent light bulbs convert electricity to heat, heating a filament to the point where it glows; a portion of the heat is thus converted to light. The conversion of heat to light requires a filament to be heated to high temperature, typically > 3000 K. [2] Incandescent lamps have a low luminous efficacy, 10-22 lumens per watt, a short average operating life, 750–2500 hours, and a relatively low purchase cost.

The three most common types of incandescent lamps are standard incandescent lamps, tungsten halogen lamps, and reflector lamps. Standard incandescent lamps have an efficacy of 10-17 lumens per watts and a lifetime of 750–2500 hours. Tungsten halogen lamps have an efficacy of 12-22 lumens per watts and a lifetime of 2000–4000 hours. Finally reflector lamps have an efficacy of 12-19 lumens per watts and a lifetime of 2000–3000 hours. [1]

Compact fluorescent light bulbs

Fluorescent lighting converts ultraviolet light to visible light. In order to produce ultraviolet light, electrons flow through the fluorescent lamp and collide with mercury atoms. The collision with mercury causes photons of UV light to be released; the UV light is then converted to visible light as it passes through the phosphor coating in the glass tube. [3]

The conversion process for fluorescent lighting is more efficient than the incandescent process, resulting in 25% of the total energy consumed used to generate light (compared to 5% for incandescent light bulbs) and a 10,000 hour lifetime. [3] The complete compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) includes the Edison screwbase and plastic housing, the electronic ballast, and the fluorescent lamp which is formed into a spiral shape. [3] Improvements in technology have allowed fluorescent lamps with color temperature and color rendition comparable to incandescent lighting. [4]

Compact fluorescent lamps are available in a variety of styles and shapes. Some have tubes and ballasts permanently connected, while others are separate allowing you to change the tube without changing the ballast. There are also CFLs enclosed in a glass globe, which look similar to conventional incandescent light bulbs. CFLs fit most fixtures designed for incandescent lamps, although only some can be dimmed. [4]

Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Pub.L. 110-140) [5] laid out the changes in legislation regarding lighting in the United States in Title III, Subtitle B. In this, the different bulbs being affected by the standards changes are first defined. Along with higher standards being created for bulbs, the ballasts are also required to increase efficiency. It is also outlined within EISA 2007 that there are lighting requirements within public buildings. The General Services Administration (GSA) set minimum energy efficiency standards for leased spaces, which includes energy efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs, including the use of Energy Star and Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) designated products. [6]

Incandescent phase-out

EISA 2007 set new performance requirements for certain common light bulbs, requiring that these bulbs become approximately 25-30% more efficient than the light bulbs of 2008 by 2012–2014. Overall, the intent of this was to bring into the market more efficient light bulbs. Some new incandescent products could be introduced by the effective dates of the law, including a bulb by General Electric that will decrease the amount of energy required. Non-incandescent bulbs, such as compact fluorescent (CFL) and light emitting diodes (LED) already meet the Tier I standards introduced. [7] Some companies worked to stop the sales of incandescent bulbs in anticipation of the standards changes. For example, the home decor and furniture company IKEA phased out the stock and sale of incandescent bulbs at their stores in the US and Canada, starting in August 2011. [8]

Defunding of incandescent phaseout

In December 2011, the U.S. Congress defunded enforcement of EISA light-bulb performance requirements as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act in the 2012 federal budget. [9] However, a representative of the American lighting industry said that "the industry has moved on" and that American manufacturers have already retooled production lines to make other bulbs. [10]

Rollback of energy efficiency standards for lightbulbs

In September 2019, the Trump administration rolled-back the EISA 2007 energy efficiency standards for lightbulbs with the Energy Department's Federal Register. [11] [12]

U.S. lighting standards

There are various codes and programs which attempt to characterize U.S. lighting standards. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Pub.L. 109-58) provided an energy-efficient commercial building tax reduction program for lighting systems that exceed code lighting. Based on estimates by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), lighting represents 40% of the electrical consumption in a commercial building, through the improvement of these systems the DOE believes this could be significantly decreased. The tax deduction includes a portion of installation costs. [13]

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) provides lighting standards in ASHRAE 90.1-2004. EPAct of 2005 set a deadline for states to adopt the ASHRAE 90.1-2004 standards. [14] ASHRAE has recently published the 90.1-2010 with improved lighting standards, this includes:

Advanced lighting control is an effort made by ASHRAE 90.1-2010 to significantly reduce the energy used for lighting by commercial buildings. [15]

The U.S. Department of Energy is improving residential codes by 30% by 2012, in an effort to move to net zero energy homes by 2020. The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) embodies the goals of the DOE, increasing efficiency by 15% since its 2006 predecessor. The 2009 IECC requires that 50% of all permanent lamps be high efficacy lighting. The 2009 IECC, chapter 2 defines high efficacy lamps as compact fluorescent lamps, T-8 or smaller diameter linear fluorescent lamps, or lamps with a minimum efficacy of: [16]

There are 14 states that have adopted the 2009 IECC, six have an effective date set for late 2010 early 2011. Within the next three years, approximately 33 states will have adopted and implemented IECC 2009 [16]

In September 2019 the Trump administration rolled back energy efficiency standards for lightbulbs with the Energy Department's Federal Register filing preventing the January 1, 2020 deadline. It has been argued that filament bulbs provide for a wide spectrum light and bulbs are much cheaper to purchase than CFLs and LEDs. However, they are more expensive than CFLs and LEDs over the life of the bulb due to higher running costs and shorter life. [17]

Failed legislation

In response to the impending phase out of incandescent bulbs with increasing standards for light bulbs, there have been multiple bills proposed in opposition to the changes made in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Better Use of Light Bulbs Act

The Better Use of Light Bulbs Act (BULB Act), or H.R. 91 (introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives January 5, 2011) would have repealed provisions from EISA 2007 regarding lighting energy efficiency. There are eight provisions to be repealed by this bill, and include those that: prescribe energy efficiency standards for general service incandescent lamps, rough service lamps, and other designated lamps; direct the Secretary of Energy (DOE) to conduct and report to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on an annual assessment of the market for general service lamps and compact fluorescent lamps; direct the Secretary to carry out a proactive national program of consumer awareness, information, and education about lamp labels and energy-efficient lighting choices; prohibit a manufacturer, distributor, retailer, or private labeler from distributing in commerce specified adapters for incandescent lamps; authorize the Secretary to carry out a lighting technology research and development program; set forth minimum energy efficiency standards for incandescent reflector lamps; sets forth requirements for the use of energy efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs in public building construction, alteration, and acquisition, and; require metal-halide lamp fixtures and energy efficiency labeling for designated consumer electronic products to be included within the Energy Policy and Conservation Act's (EPCA) regulatory oversight. [18]

This bill was introduced by Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, with 54 co-sponsors. Upon being introduced, it was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and House Energy and Commerce Committee. Since, it has also been referred to the Subcommittee on Energy and Power and the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management.[ citation needed ]

On July 12, 2011, H.R. 2417 failed to pass by the required two-thirds majority. [19]

Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act

The Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, or H.R. 849 (introduced 3/1/2011), also amends provisions from the EISA 2007, but is less restricting than H.R. 91. These provisions concern energy efficiency standards for general service incandescent lamps, rough service lamps, and other designated lamps, as well as incandescent reflector lamps. This bill requires that the Comptroller General present to Congress a report within six months of the Act's enactment. This report would need to include information that proves that: (1) consumers will obtain a net savings in terms of dollars spent on monthly electric bills and expenses for new light fixtures to accommodate the use of the light bulbs required by such provisions, compared to dollars spent before their enactment; (2) the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs required by such provisions will reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions by 20% in the United States by 2025; and (3) such phase-out will not pose any health risks, including risks associated with mercury containment in certain light bulbs, to consumers of the general public, including health risks with respect to hospitals, schools, day care centers, mental health facilities, and nursing homes. This report would also include monthly and yearly projections of expenses for electric bills and new light fixtures from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2017.

Federal legislators, as well as state lawmakers in places like South Carolina, had proposed measures designed to circumvent or overturn the federal lighting performance standards. [20]

This bill was introduced on March 1, 2011, by Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, along with eight co-sponsors. Upon being introduced, it was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. On March 8, 2011, it was referred to the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, where it died. [21]

H.R. 739

H.R. 739 (introduced February 16, 2011) amends the EISA 2007 to prohibit any federal or state requirement to increase energy efficient lighting in certain buildings. Any hospital, school, day care center, mental health facility, or nursing home would not be required to install or utilize energy efficient lighting that contains mercury. This bill was introduced to the 112th Congress on February 16, 2011, by Rep. Michael C. Burgess of Texas. This bill was introduced to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and was referred to the Subcommittee on Energy and Power. It was also referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and was referred to the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit where it died. [22]

South Carolina Incandescent Light Bulb Freedom Act

H. 3735 (Introduced in the South Carolina State House on February 23, 2011, and in the state Senate on April 13, 2011 [23] ) is sponsored by state Reps. Bill Sandifer and Dwight Loftis. The bill states that if traditional incandescent light bulbs can be made and sold in South Carolina, they are not covered by federal law. [24] [25] The bill has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry where it died. [23]

Energy Star Program

The Energy Star program adheres to strict energy efficient guidelines which are set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The criteria was based on the lighting industry standards and test procedures. [26] Light fixtures which have earned Energy Star combine quality design with the high energy efficiency. [27]

To qualify for an Energy Star rating light fixtures must: [28]

Those selling Energy Star approved luminaries will be required to participate in quality assurance testing, which uses independent, third-party, qualified testing facilities. Third-party testing provides an active system to verify the quality of Energy Star qualified SSL Luminaire products. Qualified products are selected on a random basis as well as through a nomination process. The manufacturer of each selected luminaire will be required to commission third-party testing, each being tested for: total luminous flux, luminaire efficacy, correlated color temperature, color rendering index, steady state package/module/array temperature, and maximum power supply case. [26] If a product fails quality assurance testing, the entire product grouping is de-listed, if two ore more variations of a product qualified under a product grouping fail, the applicant is place on a probationary list. The DOE reserves the right to terminate any partnership agreements with a manufacturer whose products repeatedly violate the ENERGY STAR specifications. [26]

The EPA announced updated standards for lighting fixtures to qualify for Energy Star labels. The next standards will be effective October 1, 2011, light fixtures will need to increase efficiency 30 percent about currently qualified fluorescent-based fixtures. In 2013, performance requirements will increase further, requiring 40 percent higher efficiency. The fixtures will continue to meet the strict performance; ensuring high quality light output as well as reduced toxins in fixture materials. A range of options will qualify under the new requirements, including fluorescent and LED lighting. [28]

See also

Related Research Articles

Electric light A device that produces light from electricity

An electric light is a device that produces visible light from electric power. It is the most common form of artificial lighting and is essential to modern society, providing interior lighting for buildings and exterior light for evening and nighttime activities. In technical usage, a replaceable component that produces light from electricity is called a lamp. Lamps are commonly called light bulbs; for example, the incandescent light bulb. Lamps usually have a base made of ceramic, metal, glass, or plastic, which secures the lamp in the socket of a light fixture. The electrical connection to the socket may be made with a screw-thread base, two metal pins, two metal caps or a bayonet cap.

Incandescent light bulb Electric light with a wire filament heated until it glows

An incandescent light bulb, incandescent lamp or incandescent light globe is an electric light with a wire filament heated until it glows. The filament is enclosed in a glass bulb with a vacuum or inert gas to protect the filament from oxidation. Current is supplied to the filament by terminals or wires embedded in the glass. A bulb socket provides mechanical support and electrical connections.

Fluorescent lamp Light source

A fluorescent lamp, or fluorescent tube, is a low-pressure mercury-vapor gas-discharge lamp that uses fluorescence to produce visible light. An electric current in the gas excites mercury vapor, which produces short-wave ultraviolet light that then causes a phosphor coating on the inside of the lamp to glow. A fluorescent lamp converts electrical energy into useful light much more efficiently than incandescent lamps. The typical luminous efficacy of fluorescent lighting systems is 50–100 lumens per watt, several times the efficacy of incandescent bulbs with comparable light output. In comparison, the luminous efficacy of an incandescent bulb is only 16 lumens per watt.

Lighting Deliberate use of light to achieve practical or aesthetic effects

Lighting or illumination is the deliberate use of light to achieve practical or aesthetic effects. Lighting includes the use of both artificial light sources like lamps and light fixtures, as well as natural illumination by capturing daylight. Daylighting is sometimes used as the main source of light during daytime in buildings. This can save energy in place of using artificial lighting, which represents a major component of energy consumption in buildings. Proper lighting can enhance task performance, improve the appearance of an area, or have positive psychological effects on occupants.

Flashlight Portable hand-held electric light

A flashlight, (US) torch, or torchlight (UK) is a portable hand-held electric light. Formerly, the light source typically was a miniature incandescent light bulb but these have been displaced by light-emitting diodes (LEDs) since the mid-2000s. A typical flashlight consists of the light source mounted in a reflector, a transparent cover to protect the light source and reflector, a battery, and a switch, all enclosed in a case.

Photometry (optics)

Photometry is the science of the measurement of light, in terms of its perceived brightness to the human eye. It is distinct from radiometry, which is the science of measurement of radiant energy in terms of absolute power. In modern photometry, the radiant power at each wavelength is weighted by a luminosity function that models human brightness sensitivity. Typically, this weighting function is the photopic sensitivity function, although the scotopic function or other functions may also be applied in the same way.

Mercury-vapor lamp Electric lighting source

A mercury-vapor lamp is a gas-discharge lamp that uses an electric arc through vaporized mercury to produce light. The arc discharge is generally confined to a small fused quartz arc tube mounted within a larger borosilicate glass bulb. The outer bulb may be clear or coated with a phosphor; in either case, the outer bulb provides thermal insulation, protection from the ultraviolet radiation the light produces, and a convenient mounting for the fused quartz arc tube.

Compact fluorescent lamp

A compact fluorescent lamp (CFL), also called compact fluorescent light, energy-saving light and compact fluorescent tube, is a fluorescent lamp designed to replace an incandescent light bulb; some types fit into light fixtures designed for incandescent bulbs. The lamps use a tube which is curved or folded to fit into the space of an incandescent bulb, and a compact electronic ballast in the base of the lamp.

Street lighting in the United States was introduced by inventor Benjamin Franklin, who was the postmaster of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For this reason, many regard Philadelphia as the birthplace of street lighting in the US.

Electrodeless lamp

The internal electrodeless lamp, induction lamp, or electrodeless induction lamp is a gas-discharge lamp in which an electric or magnetic field transfers the power required to generate light from outside the lamp envelope to the gas inside. This is in contrast to a typical gas discharge lamp that uses internal electrodes connected to the power supply by conductors that pass through the lamp envelope. Eliminating the internal electrodes provides two advantages:

Luminous efficacy is a measure of how well a light source produces visible light. It is the ratio of luminous flux to power, measured in lumens per watt in the International System of Units (SI). Depending on context, the power can be either the radiant flux of the source's output, or it can be the total power consumed by the source. Which sense of the term is intended must usually be inferred from the context, and is sometimes unclear. The former sense is sometimes called luminous efficacy of radiation, and the latter luminous efficacy of a light source or overall luminous efficacy.

Energy conversion efficiency Ratio between the useful output and the input of a machine

Energy conversion efficiency (η) is the ratio between the useful output of an energy conversion machine and the input, in energy terms. The input, as well as the useful output may be chemical, electric power, mechanical work, light (radiation), or heat.

Multifaceted reflector

A multifaceted reflector light bulb is a reflector housing format for halogen as well as some LED and fluorescent lamps. MR lamps were originally designed for use in slide projectors, but see use in residential lighting and retail lighting as well. They are suited to applications that require directional lighting such as track lighting, recessed ceiling lights, desk lamps, pendant fixtures, landscape lighting, retail display lighting, and bicycle headlights. MR lamps are designated by symbols such as MR16 where the diameter is represented by numerals indicating units of eighths of an inch. Common sizes for general lighting are MR16 and MR11, with MR20 and MR8 used in specialty applications. Many run on low voltage rather than mains voltage alternating current so require a power supply.

Grow light Lighting to aid plant growth

A grow light is an electric light to help plants grow. Grow lights either attempt to provide a light spectrum similar to that of the sun, or to provide a spectrum that is more tailored to the needs of the plants being cultivated. Outdoor conditions are mimicked with varying colour, temperatures and spectral outputs from the grow light, as well as varying the intensity of the lamps. Depending on the type of plant being cultivated, the stage of cultivation, and the photoperiod required by the plants, specific ranges of spectrum, luminous efficacy and color temperature are desirable for use with specific plants and time periods.

Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 United States law

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, originally named the Clean Energy Act of 2007, is an Act of Congress concerning the energy policy of the United States. As part of the Democratic Party's 100-Hour Plan during the 110th Congress, it was introduced in the United States House of Representatives by Representative Nick Rahall of West Virginia, along with 198 cosponsors. Even though Rahall was 1 of only 4 Democrats to oppose the final bill, it passed in the House without amendment in January 2007. When the Act was introduced in the Senate in June 2007, it was combined with Senate Bill S. 1419: Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007. This amended version passed the Senate on June 21, 2007. After further amendments and negotiation between the House and Senate, a revised bill passed both houses on December 18, 2007 and President Bush, a Republican, signed it into law on December 19, 2007, in response to his "Twenty in Ten" challenge to reduce gasoline consumption by 20% in 10 years.

LED lamp Light source

An LED lamp or LED light bulb is an electric light that produces light using light-emitting diodes (LEDs). LED lamps are significantly more energy-efficient than equivalent incandescent lamps and can be significantly more efficient than most fluorescent lamps, The most efficient commercially available LED lamps have efficiencies of 200 lumens per watt (Lm/W). Commercial LED lamps have a lifespan many times longer than incandescent lamps.

Aquarium lighting describes any type of artificial lighting that is used to illuminate an aquarium. Some types of aquaria such as reef aquariums and planted aquariums require specialized high intensity lighting to support photosynthetic life within the tank.

Phase-out of incandescent light bulbs Phase out of incandescent light bulbs in favor of more energy-efficient alternatives

Governments around the world have passed measures to phase out incandescent light bulbs for general lighting in favor of more energy-efficient lighting alternatives. Phase-out regulations effectively ban the manufacture, or importation of incandescent light bulbs for general lighting. The regulations are based on efficiency, rather than use of incandescent technology. However, it is not unlawful to continue to buy or sell existing bulbs, which are unregulated.

Voltage optimisation is a term given to the systematic controlled reduction in the voltages received by an energy consumer to reduce energy use, power demand and reactive power demand. While some voltage 'optimisation' devices have a fixed voltage adjustment, others electronically regulate the voltage automatically.

Plasma lamps are a type of electrodeless gas-discharge lamp energized by radio frequency (RF) power. They are distinct from the novelty plasma lamps that were popular in the 1980s.


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