This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

July 01, 2009

DOE Sets New Lighting Standards and Invests in Efficient Buildings

President Barack Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced new energy efficiency standards for lighting on June 29, as well as DOE's investment of $346 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to develop and deploy energy-efficient technologies in buildings. The new standards apply to general service fluorescent lamps, used in most offices and commercial buildings, and incandescent reflector lamps, which are used for recessed lighting and track lighting. It will result in a 15% lower electricity use for general service fluorescent lamps, while decreasing the electricity use of incandescent reflector lamps by 25%. The rule will apply to lamps manufactured for sale in the United States or imported into the United States starting in mid-2012, and in the 30 years following that, they will save consumers up to $4 billion per year, avoid the emission of up to 594 million tons of carbon dioxide, and eliminate the need for as many as 14 500-megawatt power plants.

The new fluorescent lamp standards are extended to include two types of four-foot-long lamps, while the standards for four other types of lamps require an increase of 10%-31.2% in the light output per watt. For incandescent reflector lamps, the new standard is essentially the same as the old one for the smallest 40-watt bulb, but it requires higher efficiencies for brighter bulbs. For the brightest bulb, at 205 watts, the new standard requires nearly one-third more light per watt than the old standard. It also sets slightly lower requirements for new "modified-spectrum" bulbs, which use a coating to achieve specific effects, such as a better approximation of natural daylight. DOE issued the final rule for lighting standards on June 26 and published it in the Federal Register on July 14.

Photo of a square light fixture featuring an array of glowing white dots, hanging from a concrete ceiling.

DOE will invest $50 million in advanced manufacturing techniques for solid-state lighting, aiming to lower the costs of LED lamps and fixtures.
Credit:Lighting Science Group Corporation

DOE is also investing $346 million in Recovery Act funds in energy efficient technologies for buildings, of which $100 million will go towards research that approaches buildings as an integrated system, including research focused on the systems-level design, integration, and control of both new and existing buildings. Another $50 million will support research and development of advanced manufacturing techniques for solid-state lighting, such as lamps that employ light-emitted diodes (LEDs). DOE will also direct $70 million toward residential buildings, including technical support to help train workers to perform energy efficiency retrofits, as well as outreach to municipalities and subdivisions to encourage such retrofits. The funds will also support a major initiative to provide builders with the technical assistance and training they need to build highly efficient homes. See the Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) for integrated buildings research, training program development, and builder assistance by searching the public opportunities on FedConnect for reference numbers DE-FOA-0000115 (responses due August 18), DE-FOA-0000118 (responses due September 1), DE-FOA-0000099 (responses due August 24), respectively. See the solid-state lighting solicitations by searching the public opportunities on FedConnect for reference numbers DE-FOA-00000055 (responses due August 17), DE-FOA-0000057 (responses due August 17), and DE-FOA-0000082 (responses due August 10).

DOE will also direct $53.5 million to its Commercial Buildings Initiative, intending to expand its partnerships with major companies that design, build, own, manage, or operate large fleets of commercial buildings from 23 today to about 75. Another $72.5 million will help prepare the building community for new commercial building energy codes that require a 30% improvement in energy efficiency relative to the 2004 code. A portion of those funds will also support an expansion and acceleration of DOE's Appliance Standards program, which brought you the above lighting standards, while also expanding and strengthening the Energy Star program for energy efficient products. See the DOE press release and President Obama's announcement of the new energy efficiency efforts.