EPA hosts low-key webcast on Energy Star

The Energy Stars come out this week with separate webcasts hosted by both EPA and DOE, writes Brian Owen.

The highly anticipated EPA webcast presented by Alex Baker, Lighting Program Manager of the EPA, regarding the highly controversial RLF 4.2 came and went yesterday (Tuesday June 24), without much incident, and also without many attendees or much discussion.

Just over 40 people participated, with at least 25% being either EPA or DOE staff or contractors. We have learned that over 300 people have already registered for Thursday’s DOE SSL webcast – see DOE hosts webcast on Energy Star, releases more CALiPER data.

With over 15 minutes remaining in the EPA's event, there was a lull in the conversation and an apparent shortage of questions. Although questions were received from DOE representatives, the EPA said they had chosen not to address those questions at that time due to their complicated nature!

Following the broadcast of this episode, we learned from sources that a number of questions posed were also not addressed, either due to technical issues or for other reasons.

So what was the message from the EPA? No genie in the bottle here, just the same complete dependence on the ASSIST program as being the appropriate agency and process, as well as technology neutrality being an important hallmark of Energy Star guiding principles, a necessity for consumers to make comparisons and purchasing decisions.

We heard about American Lighting Association (ALA) and NEMA support of RLF 4.2 with respect to testing. Also, we heard that although goniometric and luminous efficacy testing was commonplace for commercial and industrial manufacturers, it is not practiced by the residential lighting fixture manufacturers. We were told that the RLF Partners, as well as the ALA, have advised the EPA that "... this (goniometric and luminous efficacy testing) was overly burdensome and unnecessary."

Ask about why technology neutrality was "so" important in light of intricacies of SSL, there was no substantial explanation by the EPA. The EPA assured participants that RLF 4.2 only held domain over decorative, non-directional fixtures.

It was clearly stated by the EPA that the Energy Star brand cannot be associated with products that fail to meet consumer expectations and that the EPA will vigorously protect the Energy Star brand.

The DOE goes to air on Thursday at 1:00 pm. with their webcast "Energy Star for SSL: Getting Ready for September 30" and assures LEDs Magazine that all questions will be addressed and that "no stone will go unturned." Stay tuned!

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