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 November 16, 2022   

EPA Aims to Sunset ENERGY STAR for Lighting Products

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Proposal would sunset the ENERGY STAR label for lamps, luminaires, and ceiling fan light kits effective the end of 2024.


On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to sunset the ENERGY STAR specifications for lamps, luminaires, and ceiling fan light kits. The EPA is seeking to consider all input from ENERGY STAR stakeholders, particularly with respect to timing. The EPA requests feedback from ENERGY STAR stakeholders no later than January 6, 2023.

The ENERGY STAR label for lighting and the specifications associated with it have had quite a journey. When the first specification launched in 1997, CFLs were about one percent of light bulb sales; they cost an average of $19 each; and they suffered from a bad performance reputation among consumers. Advances in bulb design combined with a range of efforts from dedicated stakeholders, and rigorous ENERGY STAR performance requirements set the stage for improved product quality, with an equally positive impact on the introduction and evolution of LED bulbs and fixtures.

Over the past two decades, this public-private collaboration, with a focus on product quality, branding and consumer education, has transformed the market for efficient lighting and delivered significant benefit to consumers and the environment. Since 1998, EPA estimates that ENERGY STAR certified light bulbs and fixtures have saved a combined total of more than one trillion kWh of electricity. Today, the associated annual greenhouse gas savings are roughly equivalent to the carbon sequestered by over 140 million acres of forest.

Criteria for Sunsetting

Under certain circumstances, EPA makes the determination that an ENERGY STAR specification for a particular product category should be sunset rather than revised. Some or all of the following factors play into such a decision:

  • Additional, cost-effective efficiency gains are not available or anticipated
  • A standard exists or is forthcoming at the current ENERGY STAR level that will serve as a backstop so efficiency gains are maintained.
  • The market has evolved such that the product type is being discontinued

For residential lighting products, EPA anticipates that, in addition to the backstop, upcoming new efficiency standards will capture the bulk of existing cost-effective efficiency gains.

Rationale for Proposed Sunset

On May 9, 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published final rules pertaining to definitions and standards for General Service Lamps, and their policy for the enforcement of the 45 lumen-per-watt backstop. Consistent with the definitions for covered products, the backstop

and anticipated new standards cover the vast majority of the lamps on the U.S. market. Further, to the extent that a significant amount of luminaire and light kit certifications and shipments involve screw-based sockets, the lamp standards represent a new baseline and backstop for fixtures as well.

Utility programs have been a powerful driver for the uptake of ENERGY STAR certified lighting for two decades, delivering much needed long term energy savings to their customers through cost-effective rebates. EPA recognizes that the prevalence of utility lighting rebates has been an important consideration among manufacturers as they weigh the certification costs associated with earning the ENERGY STAR label. In recent years, utility programs have been declining in anticipation of forthcoming federal standards, and with the backstop triggered, the new baseline for lighting will make it difficult for utility programs to justify continuing their rebates. It is EPA’s understanding that some utility programs may continue to offer rebates on ENERGY STAR lighting through the end of 2023, and fewer may be able to continue offering free bulbs to income eligible customers through 2024.

Proposed Timing

Consistent with the anticipated phase down of utility rebate programs leveraging ENERGY STAR lighting, EPA proposes to sunset the ENERGY STAR label for lamps, luminaires, and ceiling fan light kits effective the end of 2024. The Agency expects to stop accepting new certifications for these products as of the end of 2023. EPA welcomes feedback on this timeline.

In light of the market considerations driving this sunset proposal, EPA also plans to remove lighting requirements from the ENERGY STAR specifications for ceiling fans and ventilation fans. These changes would be effective, in alignment with DOE’s backstop enforcement timeline, at the end of July 2023.

EPA values stakeholder feedback on this proposal. Stakeholders who have any questions or want to discuss their plans to discontinue labeling may contact lighting@energystar.gov.


Source: Memo from Taylor Jantz-Sell, ENERGY STAR Lighting Program Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency




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