DOE Rulemakings, With Savings in Mind

DOE Rulemakings, With Savings in Mind

The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 established an energy conservation program for major household appliances.  Since then, various amendments to EPCA have given DOE the authority to regulate the energy efficiency of various technologies, to include appliances and lighting technologies.

The purpose of these rulemakings is to establish energy conservation standards and test procedures for technologies that are feasible, economically justified, and result in energy savings.  These rulemakings will result in fewer greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the nation’s need for additional power generation capacity.

In the world of lighting, these rulemakings will affect the energy performance of future ballasts, lamps, and luminaires.

A DOE rulemaking in the works will establish energy performance standards for fluorescent lamp ballasts during lamp operation, standby, and off modes.  The purpose of this rulemaking is to promote greater energy efficiency and to mitigate the “vampire effect” of these ballasts while the lamps they operate are not illuminated.  A recent final rulemaking has set minimum efficacy standards for general service fluorescent lamps and incandescent reflector lamps.  There are several similar rulemakings in the works for efficacy standards for metal halide luminaires, high-intensity discharge lamps, and additional types of incandescent reflector lamps.

What does this mean for the consumer?  Bottom line: better products and energy savings.

Though not without a little give and take.  Bad News: to achieve greater energy efficiency the products built to the standards outlined in these rulemakings are more expensive to manufacture and will have a higher initial purchase price.  Good News: the energy savings they produce will more than offset any initial investment and provide a hedge against any increase in future energy prices.  Even Better News:  these products are available today so you can start saving today.

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