Energy Star webinar will discuss lighting program changes

The next stage of the Energy Star program reorganization will take place soon with a series of webinars, including one specifically on lighting on April 6.

EPA has announced a webinar to discuss the future of the Energy Star lighting program. This will take place on April 6, 2010 from 1:00 to 2:30pm Eastern Time.

Please note that the webinar will NOT discuss the specifics of the LED lighting criteria.

The webinar will cover the proposed enhancements to testing and verification for the following Energy Star-qualified product categories: Compact Fluorescent Lamps; Integral LED Lamps; Residential Light Fixtures; and Solid-State Lighting.

To register, email ENERGYSTARVerificationProgram@icfi.com by the close of business on Thursday, March 25 and note “Lighting” in the subject line. Confirmed registrants will receive details for the call.

The EPA's Alex Baker, Energy Star Lighting Program Manager, told LEDs Magazine that the April 6 webinar will cover three general topics around Energy Star lighting:

  • Accreditation bodies: the program is revisiting the accreditation bodies referenced to ensure quality results from the labs that provide testing services.
  • Qualification processes: while this webinar will not explore the specifics of the lighting program integration and specification revision efforts currently underway at EPA, it will outline potential changes to the overall process which are intended to add value for our partners.
  • Verification testing: the program is designing a next-generation verification testing program for lighting products, to verify that qualified lighting products shipped to the market are continuing to provide the same performance presented to EPA upon qualification.
Baker also said that EPA intends to have the first draft of the Energy Star Luminaires specification out for stakeholder review in early April. "Following the release of the draft we will conduct a separate webinar to explain the first draft," he said.

Background

On December 4, 2009, EPA circulated its integration proposal for Energy Star-qualified lighting, describing some of the ways in which the overlapping criteria introduced by DOE and EPA would be brought together. See also our LEDs Magazine news story.

Comments on this proposal were requested by January 8, 2010 and these have now been posted on the Energy Star website. Baker says that EPA received "general support for the proposal, along with valuable guidance and advice from industry stakeholders, all of which we will carefully consider as we move forward."

Baker also commented that, as EPA works to streamline the lighting programs within Energy Star, stakeholders can expect an open process involving multiple drafts and industry comment periods.

Energy Star general reorganization

The April 6 lighting discussion will build from the concepts presented during a webinar on March 26, 2010, covering the entire Energy Star program, which is undergoing a major overhaul – see EPA, DOE Announce New Steps to Strengthen Energy Star.

"Consumers have long trusted the Energy Star brand for products that will save them energy and save them money," said Cathy Zoi, DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. "The steps we're taking now will further strengthen and improve the program, building on the results that consumers have come to expect."

Not everyone is quite so bullish about the Energy Star brand, which has attracted criticism for not testing enough products (testing is a recognized strength of the lighting program).

An article in USA Today quotes Consumer Reports, a consumer organization: "Consumer Reports applauds those energy savings but argues Energy Star has lost some of its luster, because it's not updating its criteria often enough. As a result, it says that too many products in some categories bear the logo, rendering it almost meaningless."

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