There’s more to the month of October than autumn leaves and Halloween. October is also National Energy Action Month, an initiative from the federal government that encourages Americans to work together to boost the economy, help the environment and make the U.S energy independent.
Some new rules governing fluorescent lamp ballasts were created last year to help the nation achieve some of the goals listed above. They were released by the Department of Energy in November of 2011 and have two provisions:
- Establish a new metric to measure ballast efficiency.
- Set a higher standard of efficiency for the T5, T8 and T12 ballasts made today.
The new metric is called Ballast Luminous Efficiency (BLE), and in short, here’s what it does: Takes the lamp out of the equation when measuring the total load.
Details of the BLE are outlined very well in this whitepaper published in October of this year by the Lighting Controls Association, a trade group “dedicated to educating the professional building design, construction and management communities about the benefits and operation of automatic switching and dimming controls.” From the DOE’s perspective, the new regulations have very tangible benefits: $20 billion in consumer energy cost savings by 2043.
The whitepaper addresses the kind of ballasts covered by the BLE and offers more specific details on technical requirements. Professionals in the lighting design and installation – as well as commercial and residential property managers – should take note of these new rules and plan accordingly.
However, we have two concerns:
- What’s being done – by the industry and the DOE – to make sure news of the November 2012 provisions gets communicated? We did a Google search and found online articles, like the whitepaper referenced here, but nothing on the DOE site. (If you find relevant content online, please share.)
- The rules will be enacted starting November 14, 2014. After that date, the government will prohibit the domestic manufacture and importation of products that don’t meet the new standards. Deadlines sometimes get extended, and sometimes rules aren’t followed. Will that happen if the DOE pushes the compliance date past 2014? And, is the DOE (or federal government) prepared to enforce the regulations?
Are you familiar with the BLE metric and new DOE rules governing ballasts? Do you agree with this development? What are you doing to prepare or educate your team and your clients?