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Importance of ENERGY STAR Requirements for Lighting Manufacturers

November 19, 2012
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The 21st National Energy Awareness Month drew to a close in October. In its wake, it is important to recognize the critical role energy plays in the world today. Across industries, manufacturers are developing products to meet the growing demands of energy-conscious consumers, and at the same time must ensure the products live up to their claims. For those in the lighting industry to remain competitive, keeping up with evolving industry standards and certification processes is crucial. Therefore, manufacturers should use this time to reflect on recent industry changes to better prepare for future growth.

This past April marked the deadline for lighting manufacturers to complete the recertification process to ensure their ENERGY STAR-labeled products met the new Luminaires V1.1 specification. The new specification is based on revisions to the ENERGY STAR requirements by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). With at least 40 percent of the more than 40,000 ENERGY STAR-labeled products in the lighting category, it stands to reason that thousands of lighting manufacturers more than likely missed the deadline.

How have the Requirements Evolved?

The ENERGY STAR program promotes energy-efficient products to consumers while educating them on the benefits in choosing these types of products. The program is a voluntary partnership of the EPA, Department of Energy (DOE), product manufacturers, local utilities and retailers.

Effective January 1, 2011, the EPA implemented new guidelines to ensure all products bearing the ENERGY STAR label meet proper standards. The most significant change was a new requirement that EPA Partners (i.e., manufacturers) must test their products in an EPA-Recognized Testing Laboratory and provide the lab test results to an EPA-Recognized Certification Body (CB) to qualify the products under the ENERGY STAR program.

While lighting manufacturers have been accustomed to using an EPA-Recognized Testing Laboratory, the requirement to involve a CB to qualify their products is new. Previously, they were able to submit test data directly to the EPA or DOE.

How does this Affect Lighting Manufacturers?

Since there is no grandfathering of products that were qualified under the old specifications, lighting manufacturers who wanted to maintain the ENERGY STAR label on their products were required to recertify them through the CB of their choice by April 1, 2012.

There are two main categories in the lighting industry—luminaries and lamps. For luminaires, the new standard became effective September 15, 2011, for new products and all existing ENERGY STAR products had to requalify by April 1, 2012. For lamps, a new revision to the standard is being written and any new products will be subjected to the new third party certification requirements.

What Happens to Lighting Manufacturers who Missed the Deadline? 

Manufacturers who missed the April deadline but still wish to participate in the ENERGY STAR program are encouraged to recertify their products. To complete the recertification process for previously qualified products or any new products, manufacturers are encouraged to engage an EPA-Recognized Testing Laboratory and CB as soon as possible as the required testing can take anywhere from several days to several months depending on the product.

Lighting manufacturers who missed the deadline and choose not to recertify will be dropped from the ENERGY STAR program. As a result, they will no longer be listed on the public ENERGY STAR website. For additional information and important details, manufacturers are encouraged to visit the Luminaires Specification section on the website. 

To continue to provide quality lighting products that meet ENERGY STAR requirements, it is important that manufacturers stay ahead of evolving industry standards.

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