By: Craig DiLouie
Energy Star, an EPA voluntary product labeling program that was founded in 1992, is designed to help consumers identify and promote energy-efficient products—including lamps and residential luminaires. Consumers recognize that the Energy Star label means that products demonstrate equivalent or better performance than the traditional technologies they replace but use significantly less energy. This approach promotes both quality and energy efficiency. In the lamps category, certification to the Energy Star Lamp Specification has come to mean qualifying for the large majority of utility rebate programs.
More than 370 utilities in the United States run approximately 1,200 product incentive and promotion programs for Energy Star-certified products, with an estimated budget of about $535 million. This represents about 95% of utility incentive programs nationwide. The EPA estimates that in 2014, about 70% of CFLs and 75% of LED lamps sold were Energy Star certified.
“The Energy Star mark is well recognized in the marketplace, and there’s a lot of consumer awareness around it,” said Joseph Howley, manager of industry relations, GE Lighting (gelighting. com). “Most buyers see Energy Star and are confident they’re buying a quality energy-efficient product. Average consumers might not have the expertise to keep up with LED technology and how quickly it continues to evolve, so they rely on Energy Star.”
The Lamps Version 2.0 specification was released on Dec. 31, 2015. The effective date is Jan. 2, 2017. To bear the Energy Star mark after that time, a lamp must be certified to V2.0. There will be no grandfathering, meaning existing products must recertify. The new requirements are stricter and require more rigorous testing, which will have a big impact on omnidirectional, directional, and decorative lamps that qualify for the Energy Star mark.
According to Taylor Jantz-Sell, Energy Star Lighting Program manager for the EPA, V2.0 has four primary goals:
1) Capture more energy savings in step with growing improvements in solid-state lighting while improving quality and, where possible, reducing cost. For example, for all lamps, minimum efficacy and lumen and color maintenance requirements increased, while for omnidirectional lamps, minimum service life decreased.
2) Broaden the scope for features for eligible lamp types, such as colortuning and connected (i.e., featuring an ability to communicate) products. This is likely to stimulate demand for these value-added products.
3) Harmonize with the program’s Luminaires V2.0 specification, such as allowing a turnkey way to certify decorative luminaires simply by including an Energy Star-certified lamp.
4) Allow for more cost-effective lamp designs to earn Energy Star.
“The EPA hopes the result of the new specification will be increased adoption of high-quality, highly efficient lightbulbs that have been third-party certified to a well-thought-out set of requirements,” noted Jantz-Sell.
“In certain geographies, electrical distributors may need to stock Energy Star V1.0 and V2.0 products to support current customer demands and utility incentives, respectively,” explained Nathan Marafioti, marketing director LED/North America, Philips Lighting (usa.lighting.philips.com). “Electrical distributors should expect and prepare for a continued increase in LED lamp conversion. Many utility programs will shift funding from CFLs to LED, which will improve the value of and stimulate LED adoption.”
Omnidirectional lamps. Omnidirectional lamps emit light in all directions. Lamps V2.0 increases the minimum efficacy requirement from 55lm/W for lamps smaller than 15W and 65lm/W for lamps greater than 15W to 70lm/W or 80lm/W based on color-rendering index (CRI) rating. If the lamp has a CRI lower than 90, the product must achieve a minimum efficacy of 80lm/W; if the CRI is 90 or greater, it must have an efficacy of at least 70lm/W.
Additionally, V2.0 reduced the service life requirement from 25,000 hours to 15,000 hours, adjusted the light distribution requirements, and reduced the power factor requirement from .7 to .6 for 5W to 10W products. These changes were implemented to allow manufacturers to reduce cost and provide competitive, high-quality LED products to consumers at a price point they’ve come to expect from Energy Star-certified CFLs.
“Currently, there are no CFL products on the market that are V2.0 compliant,” Marafioti said. “While we are constantly evaluating the market need and opportunity for different products for our customers, it is likely that our primary efforts will continue to focus on driving LED adoption.”
The new specification favors LED technology. “Almost all of today’s omnidirectional lamps from proven brands meet the new requirements,” said Alfred LaSpina, product group marketing manager, OSRAM Sylvania (sylvania.com). “The transition will be seamless, and the end-user won’t be impacted.” He added that Sylvania will continue to offer CFLs to provide customers with a choice.
While many new LED lamps meet V2.0’s 80lm/W requirements, many existing LED lamps don’t, which may require some design changes and a higher cost.
“GE does not anticipate that the new requirements will affect the broad availability of its Energy Star-certified LED products, but we do expect that demand for those same products will increase,” explained Chris Gonzales, senior product manager, Current, powered by GE (currentbyge.com). GE is currently phasing out production of CFLs for the North American market in 2017 due to expectations of a significant downturn in demand.
• Directional lamps. Directional lamps emit light in a single direction. Lamps V2.0 increases the minimum efficacy requirement for directional lamps, again based on CRI. The requirement increased from 40lm/W for lamps smaller than 20W and 50lm/W for 20+W lamps to 70lm/W (<90 CRI) and 61lm/W (90+CRI).
“We expect that CFL reflector lamps will be effectively eliminated from Energy Star consideration by the new requirement,” said Roland Rolle, senior product manager, GE Lighting. “We will have a wide selection of decorative and directional LED lamps that meet V2.0, but no CFLs.”
“Additional scale and costs continue to come down for LEDs, including directional lamps,” LaSpina said. “For LED lamps that currently comply with V1.0 but will not meet V2.0, their price points will continue to make them attractive options even without the utility incentives. We have spec-grade products compliant with V2.0 and available for utility rebates, and we also have products engineered for value-driven customers. It comes down to offering a wide range so the distributor has the right light for the right application, with or without utility rebates.”
• Decorative lamps. For decorative lamps, the efficacy requirements increased from 50lm/W to 60lm/W (based on wattage) to 65lm/W for all lamps. ST, a new lamp shape emulating oldfashioned, filament-style lamps, is now included.
“Like the other two categories, we expect nearly all CFL decorative lamps will be eliminated from the Energy Star program under V2.0,” says Rolle. “We anticipate the entire market will move toward LED.”
“If distributors are in incentive-laden areas, they will have to change to compliant products to take advantage of rebates,” LaSpina added. “Distributors will need to scrub their products and vendor listing to make sure they are stocking V2.0 products.”
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