Just a month after its final draft, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published its Version 2.0 of the Energy Star Luminaires that raises the energy performance level of lighting products. Public comments regarding any changes raised only a small number of new issues that have been addressed with the agency’s most recent comments. The guidelines in Version 2.0 (V2.0) of the document will become operational on June 1, 2016. Lighting products previously carrying the Energy Star V1.0 and V1.2 certifications are allowed to carry those labels until that date.
Manufacturers of lighting products can begin moving forward to comply with the new specifications of compliance immediately. Certification bodies are permitted to begin testing of luminaires for V2.0 conformity directly after a manufacturer’s request. Certification bodies will no longer validate products to the V1.2 standards as of December 1, 2015. The EPA cited the longer production and testing times due to the complexity of LED products as the reason behind the one-year time period designated for products to become compliant with the V2.0 specifications.
One change in the V1.2 specifications permits GU24 lighting products to operate in Energy Star products that are specifically designed to use GU24 products. The screw-based designs must clearly indicate the manufacturers and lamps that they are compatible with as the information is needed for replacement bulbs. Another change is that the retrofit kits do not have to meet the requirements for driver/ballast replacement because their lights can already be removed.
The EPA clarified that the new specifications do not include information on the replacement of fluorescent light LED tubes and that the rest of changes in this draft were to update references and fix grammatical errors.
The V2.0 specifications are expected to result in noticeable reductions of energy use via higher efficacy standards. They’re also intended to motivate users to purchase more solid state lighting products like LED lighting for reasons of cost and efficiency. In some cases, efficacy standards have been lowered, the rationale being that lowered efficacy standards boosts broader adoption and use of LED lighting.