California Energy Commission Illuminates Lamp Standard Proposal

Thu, 10/29/2015 - 00:00 -- MrGreen

Is California poised to introduce the country’s first mandatory efficiency/quality regulations for LED lamps?

A few days ago, the California Energy Commission (CEC) released proposed lamp standards that could save residents and businesses more than $4 billion in energy costs over 13 years. The action is a result of state legislation requiring the CEC to adopt standards to reduce residential lighting energy consumption by 50 percent and business lighting energy consumption by 25 percent by 2018, compared to 2007 levels.

The proposed regulation addresses efficiency and quality in two distinct lighting areas:

Small diameter directional lamps
Defined as lamps of 2.25 inches or less in diameter, they include multifaceted reflector lamps (MR16 and MR11) and parabolic aluminized reflector lamps (PAR16 and PAR11). They’re typically found in commercial applications and often used in stores, hotels and motels, homes, and museums. They currently use lower efficiency incandescent or halogen technology product. The proposed requirements for these lamps are shown below.

Effective Date Energy Efficiency Standard
(must meet one condition below)
Rated Life (min) (hrs)
1/1/2018 Efficacy ≥ 80 lumens/watt
CRI* + Efficacy ≥ 165 and a minimum
efficacy ≥ 70 lumens/watt

General Service LED lamps
These are defined as white light LED replacement lamps with E12, E17, E26, and GU-24 bases, having a minimum light output of 150 lumens. The regulation covers omni-directional, directional, and decorative lamps. A minimum compliance score is calculated as the sum of the lamp’s efficacy and 2.3 times the CRI of the lamp. The proposed requirements are shown below.

Effective Date Minimum
Efficacy (min) (lumens/W) CRI (min) Rated Life (min) (hrs) Power Factor (min)
Tier 1, (1/1/2017) 227 65 82 10,000 0.7
Tier 2, (1/1/2019) 297 80 82 10,000 0.7

The proposal also sets a limit on standby power consumed by "connected" or "smart" LED lamps. The CEC defines a connected LED lamp as one that that can be controlled wirelessly or through power line carrier digital communications. Connected lamps consume power even when switched "off" and not producing any light. LED lamps manufactured on or after January 1, 2019 cannot consume more than 0.2 watts in standby mode.

To make claims of being an "incandescent equivalent," lamps must have a color temperature of 3000K or less and be dimmable. Dimmable lamps must dim to 10%, pass a flicker test, and not exceed an audible noise threshold.

The CEC will hold a workshop to receive public comments on the proposed requirements on November 18, 2015, in Sacramento, California. Information on attending via a live webinar can be found at Written comments on the proposal must be received by November 30, 2015. A December 9th adoption hearing is planned.

Additional information on the proposed standards, including a staff report describing lamp efficiency opportunities, can be found on the CEC’s LED Appliance Efficiency Rulemaking page. A Frequently Asked Questions document is also available.

*CRI = Color Rendering Index