California Proposes First LED Standards

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California Proposed Lighting Standard Raises the Bar for Energy Efficiency

LED Inside, October 22, 2015. Image credit: Peter Thoeny

The California Energy Commission released a final staff report proposing the first standards for small-diameter directional lamps and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Directional lamps are often used in commercial track lighting, while LEDs replace screw-based incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) typically found in homes. Prompted by legislation requiring the Energy Commission to adopt standards to reduce energy use of lighting in homes by 50% and businesses by 25% from the 2007 levels by 2018, the proposed standards will save energy and improve the quality of the light bulbs that Californians are buying every day.

The new standards will have a financial impact. For a $4 investment in the more efficient directional lamps, the Energy Commission estimates consumers will save nearly $250 in reduced energy and lamp replacement costs over an average of 11 years. The savings with LEDs are also significant and growing as purchase prices continue to decline.

Small-diameter directional lamps
Small-diameter directional lamps are often used in stores, hotels and motels, homes, and museums. In California, about 16 million of these lamps are installed in existing buildings, and the stock is expected to grow to 18 million by 2029. The proposed standards cover lamps with a diameter of 2.25 inches or less and would go into effect on January 1, 2018. The proposal includes:

  • A requirement that lamps have either an efficacy greater than or equal to 80 lumens per watt or a color rendering index +Efficiency score of at least 165 with a minimum efficiency of at least 70 lumens per watt.
  •  A minimum lifetime of 25,000 hours for each product. LED lamps are the only products on the market that meet this proposed lifetime standard. The adoption is expected to cause a transition to LEDs from less efficient technologies.
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