Starting on January 2, 2017 Energy Star v2.0 will replace the current v1.1 standard as the qualifying directive for all light bulbs and lamps sold in the United States. No products which are currently qualified to bear the Energy Star logo under the current standard will be allowed to retain the qualification after January 1, 2017. The new Energy Star standards are intended to yield even greater energy savings by being more tightly focused on the energy efficiency of the lamps that are covered.
Several new categories of lamps have been added to now be eligible for Energy Star certification. These include G4 and G9 base LED mini-lamps, and the ST envelope “Edison” style as well as other “long-filament” LED lamps that have become very popular over the last few years with people seeking a “vintage” look to their lighting. The new Energy Star guidelines also contain recommended color descriptor terms for the various correlated color temperatures. Here are the EPA’s recommendations for color descriptors:
- 2200K – Amber Light
- 2500K – Sunset Light
- 2700K – Soft White
- 3000K – Warm White
- 3500K – Neutral White
- 4000/4100K – Cool White
- 5000K – Daylight
- 6500K – Daylight
It is our great hope here at Wholesale Lighting that the manufacturers will universally adopt these EPA recommendations for marketing terms as this would bring clarity to what is currently a confused mess. However, we are somewhat dismayed by the fact that the EPA recommends the term “Daylight” for two different light colors. We strongly advocate for a unique term, such as “True White,” to be applied to the 5000K color temperature.
The biggest changes in the new Energy Star guidelines are regarding the rated life and the luminous efficacy of LED lamps. All omnidirectional and decorative LED lamps, such as A-lamps or globe lamps, will now only be required to have a rated life of 15,000 hours. This is actually a significant reduction in the life-hour requirements of these types of lamps from Energy Star v1.1. The focus is shifting away from the lifespan of these products and being placed squarely now on the energy efficiency of these, the most popular types of LED lamps. All directional LED lamps, such as BR reflector lamps or PAR lamps, will still be required to have a rated life of 25,000 hours under the new guidelines. As part of this tighter focus on energy efficiency, under the v2.0 guidelines, the minimum requirements for lamp efficacy, measured in lumens per watt, have been increased significantly for omnidirectional, directional, and decorative LED lamps. The new efficacy requirements for these lamps are as follows: Omnidirectional LED lamps which have a CRI of 90+ must have a lamp efficacy of 70 Lumens/Watt or better. Omnidirectional LED lamps which have a CRI of <90 must have a lamp efficacy of 80 Lumens/Watt or better. Directional LED lamps which have a CRI of 90+ must have a lamp efficacy of 61 Lumens/Watt or better. Directional LED lamps which have a CRI of <90 must have a lamp efficacy of 70 or better. Decorative LED lamps all must have a lamp efficacy of 65 Lumens/Watt or better.
The new Energy Star v2.0 guidelines do not allow any previously approved products to be “grandfathered.” This means that every manufacturer must submit all of their qualifying products for recertification under the new Energy Star guidelines. Because of the lengths of time that can be involved in the product certification process, there will initially be significantly fewer Energy Star certified lighting products available in the marketplace at the beginning of 2017. This will certainly be a factor for anyone who is planning to participate in a utility-funded energy rebate program at the beginning of the new year. Many of the lighting products that were formerly eligible for rebates under these programs will have disappeared from the qualified product lists for 2017. It may be the case that it will be deep into 2017 before enough lighting products have been qualified under the new Energy Star v2.0 guidelines to regrow the qualified product lists back to their present size.