California Bans Fluorescent Lamps

Last week California joined Vermont and the European Union in enacting a ban on fluorescent lamps.  The California ban covers:

  • Screw or bayonet base CFLs beginning January 1, 2024
  • Pin-based CFLs beginning January 1, 2025
  • Linear fluorescent lamps (aka fluorescent tubes) beginning January 1, 2025

The ban isn’t complete because there are some specialty fluorescents that are not included, such as those used for copiers and scanners, disinfection, sunlamps for tanning, and specialized lamps for medical purposes.  However, it does apply to:

  • CFLs of all tube diameters and all tube lengths, including PL, spiral, twin tube, triple tube, 2D, U-bend, and circular
  • Linear fluorescents including:
    • single-pin, two-pin, and recessed double contact
    • all tube diameters, including T5, T8, T10, and T12
    • all tube lengths from 6″ to 8′
    • all lamp shapes, including U-bend and circular

Over the next few years hundreds of thousands, probably millions, of fixtures will need to be replaced or, if possible, converted with LED retrofit lamps.  From the perspective of efficiency and quality of light replacement is certainly preferred, but it won’t be cheap.  It’s not clear if California or utilities will offer any sort of financing to make the change.

You can download the law here.

DOE Issues Preliminary Determination on ASHRAE 90.1-2019

On April 21, 2021, DOE issued a preliminary determination that Standard 90.1-2019 will achieve greater energy efficiency in buildings subject to the code. DOE estimates national savings in commercial buildings of approximately:

  • 4.7 percent site energy savings
  • 4.3 percent source energy savings
  • 4.3 percent energy cost savings
  • 4.2 percent carbon emissions

If the DOE makes a final affirmative determination, and it likely will, states will have two years to certify that they have reviewed the provisions of their commercial building code regarding energy efficiency, and, as necessary, updated their codes to meet or exceed the updated edition of Standard 90.1.

Since 1992, 42 U.S.C. 6833 has required the DOE to evaluate new versions of ASHRAE 90.1 or its successor to determine if adopting the new version as a nationwide minimum standard would improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings. If it does, “each State shall, not later than 2 years after the date of the publication of such determination, certify that it has reviewed and updated the provisions of its commercial building code regarding energy efficiency in accordance with the revised standard for which such determination was made. Such certification shall include a demonstration that the provisions of such State’s commercial building code regarding energy efficiency meet or exceed such revised standard.”

Standard 189.1 Now Includes TM-30 Requirements

Yesterday an addendum to ANSI/ASHRAE/ICC/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1-2017 Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings was published. The addendum makes changes to Section 8.3.5, which covers lighting. One of the biggest changes is to add TM-30 color rendition criteria to the section on Indoor Lighting Quality. Here’s the relevant text: Color Rendition. At least 95% of lighting power of nominally white lighting within each enclosed space shall be provided by luminaires that meet the following criteria at full light output in accordance with IES-TM-30, Annex E, P2 and F3:
1. Rf of at least 85
2. Rf,h1 of at least 85
3. Rg of at least 92
4. Rcs,h1 of at least -7% but no greater than +19%

Nominally white lighting is lighting that has chromaticity within the basic or extended nominal color correlated temperature (CCT) specifications of ANSI C78.377.

Where a lighting system is capable of changing its spectrum, it shall be capable of meeting the color rendition requirements within each nominal CCT of 2700 K, 3500 K, 4000 K, and 5000 K, as defined in ANSI C78.377, that the system is capable of delivering.

I hope that this is going to put more pressure on manufacturers to improve the color rendering of their luminaires as measured by TM-30, not CRI, and to provide TM-30 information on their cut sheets. If not, they’ll risk not being considered on projects that have TM-30 requirements.

White House to Relax Energy Efficiency Rules for Light Bulbs – The New York Times

In 2007 Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) with the goal of increasing energy efficiency across the economy.  Part of EISA has affected the lighting industry in the form of mandated efficacy of light sources.  The initial efficacy rules targeted A-Lamps (standard household light bulbs) and set the efficacy level above that of incandescent but below that of halogen lamps.  The result was a slow shift to the more energy efficient technology.  Over the years the energy efficiency requirements have been expanded to more lamp shapes, always in keeping with technological ability so that we never faced a lamp shortage or loss of a lamp shape.  Today, more than 50% of lamps sold are LED that exceed even the most stringent requirements.

On September 4th the administration announced that it was going to cancel a new set of requirements that would have taken effect in January 2020 that would have applied to products such as decorative medium base lamps and MR type lamps.  In my opinion, this is another example of the administration cutting off its nose to spite its face.  As with the threat to “investigate” automakers who agree with the State of California’s proposed energy efficiency requirements, this effort to undo energy efficiency despite the monumental consensus that we need to reign in our energy consumption isn’t going to go have any effect.  No lamp manufacturer is going to reopen or build new factories to make incandescent lamps when it’s obvious that A) the next administration is going to reinstate the efficacy requirements B) the public has embraced the energy savings of LED lamps, and C) the companies know that it would be bad for their image to turn their backs on mitigating climate change.

Source: White House to Relax Energy Efficiency Rules for Light Bulbs – The New York Times

San Francisco adopts law requiring solar panels on all new buildings

San Francisco has this week passed landmark legislation requiring all new buildings under 10 storeys in height to be fitted with rooftop solar panels.

The city’s San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the new rule on Tuesday, making the metropolis the largest in the US to mandate solar installations on new properties

Source: San Francisco adopts law requiring solar panels on all new buildings

LPDs, As Low As We Should Go

ASHRAE has released a series of changes to Standard 90.1 in preparation for the 2016 update.  Among those changes is the further tightening of LPDs (click here) in all space and building types.  In my opinion, these changes should be rejected by the lighting community.

Rather than provide tight, but reasonable, limitations on the power consumption of lighting systems, the LPDs proposed in the revision of Table 9.5.1 are so low that they clearly favor LED technology almost to the exclusion of all others.  They also strongly imply that energy efficiency is the most important criteria of a lighting system, regardless of the application.  Neither of these positions is appropriate for this document or the organizations that develop and maintain it.

The proposed LPDs are nearly impossible to meet by lighting designers who wish to exercise their best judgement, or meet client requirements, by selecting project appropriate sources of light other than LED.  In some cases this imposes an avoidable financial burden on the owner.  For example, LED luminaires with a combination of high output and smooth dimming to zero (such as those required for theatres, cinemas, houses of worship, etc.) are substantially more expensive than halogen alternatives, and may require more expensive control systems as well.  Clients requiring excellent color rendering (such as high end retail, art schools, museums, and health care facilities) are also compelled to purchase premium priced LED fixtures.

The only way that these low LPDs (and the even lower LPDs we assume will be proposed in the future) make sense is if they are paired with hours of usage to arrive at a time weighted limitations.  Even then, the LPDs should be high enough to permit designers and owners a choice in the technology that they use for a given application.  The proposed LPDs come very close to eliminating that choice.

I’m not saying that all buildings should be illuminated with incandescent light, or that LPDs should be abolished. I am saying, however, that the ever tightening of LPDs cannot go on forever, and that we have reached a tipping point where these limitations are having unjustifiable impacts on designs and budgets.  In my opinion, LPDs should not be further reduced for the foreseeable future.

Standard 189.1 Addendum Are Open For Public Review

ASHRAE has announced a 30-day public review and comment period for addendum to ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1-2014, beginning on July 24th.  The addendum that concerns lighting designers corrects and clarifies a potentially confusing requirement in which a designer may conclude that bonus lighting power control factors from Table 9.6.3 Control Factors Used in Calculating Additional Interior LPD of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1 cannot be used.

More information and instructions on commenting are at–technology/public-review-drafts.