Upcoming legislation will change the standard incandescent light bulb as we know it. Effective Jan. 1, 2012, general-service light bulbs will need to be up to 30 percent more energy efficient than current standards require.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). which was signed into law on Dec. 19, 2007, builds on the progress made by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) in developing a comprehensive energy strategy for the 21st century. This act is a major step toward reducing our dependence on oil, thereby increasing our energy security and making our country cleaner for future generations.

Energy efficiency, in regards to lighting sources, is covered in Title III, Subtitle B of the Act under 2 sections: Section 321 which covers Incandescent General Service Lamps and Section 322 which covers Incandescent Reflector Lamps.

Changes on general-service incandescents and halogens

Section 321 of EISA impacts general-service incandescent and halogen lamps with a medium-screw base, ranging from 310 lumens to 2,600 lumens (40W to -100W) and on systems ranging from 110V to 130V. These lamps must meet the criteria in the chart below.

Specialty lamps exempt from the EISA guidelines include: appliance lamps, blacklight lamps, bug lamps, colored lamps, infrared lamps, left-hand thread lamps, marine lamps, marine signal service lamps, mine service lamps, plant light lamps, reflector lamps, rough-service lamps, shatter-resistant lamps, sign service lamps, silver bowl lamps, showcase lamps, three-way incandescent lamps, traffic signal lamps, vibration service lamps, G-shape lamps with a diameter of five inches or more, T-shape lamps of 40W or less and a length of more than 10 inches, and B, BA, CA, F, G16-1/2, G25, G30, S or M14 lamps of 40W or less.

Changes on reflector lamps

The requirements of Section 322 of EISA went into effect on June 16, 2008. As a reminder, this part of the legislation covers minimum efficiency standards for reflector lamps, including BR, ER and BPAR lamps, between 2.25-inch (R18) and 2.75-inch (R22) in diameter, and those with a rated wattage equal to and greater than 40W.

All affected lamps listed above must meet the following minimum efficiency standards measured in lumens-per-watt (LPW): 40W-50W; 10.5 LPW; 51W-66W: 11LPW; 67W-85W: 12.5LPW; 86W-115W: 14LPW; 116W-155W: 14.5 LPW; and 156W-205W: 15 LPW.

Reflector lamps exempt from this new law include BR30, BR40 and ER40 lamps rated at 65W (the popular 65BR30 and 65BR40 are exempt), ER30, BR30, BR40 and ER40 lamps (rated at 50W or less) and R20 lamps rated at 45W or less.

Be prepared

So how can electrical distributors do with all of this information? Train your staff and be proactive. Electrical contractors, specifiers, designers and consumers need to know which light bulbs can and cannot be used as part of the new legislation. This information is vital for planning and specifying luminaires for future residential and commercial projects. Since you are their resource, your sales personnel need to be the experts and be up-to-date on the latest in light bulbs and regulations.

Opportunities abound

Use this legislation to promote your branch as a resource for green, energy-efficient lighting solutions while delivering quality lighting that customers want.

EISA-compliant lamps

Another step you can take now is to offer lamps that meet the new energy efficiency regulations well in advance of the “go-live” date.

Efficient suppliers

With the strong push from the government, lobbyists and environmentalists to develop green products, the latest legislation and technology will continue to change rapidly, resulting in more sustainable and energy-efficient light sources. Partner with a resource that will keep you updated on upcoming laws and products, help educate your customers, stay ahead of the competition and gain market share.

Given the flood of misinformation on LEDs and other light sources from inferior suppliers, fly-by-night wholesalers, and a virtual free-for-all in the social media, you must work with a reputable company with a long track record and a history of creating successful and effective lighting solutions. It's not just about products and it's way more than just great service.

Locate a long-standing supplier with a reliable track record and an excellent reputation for quality products and service, substantial inventory backup and the marketing expertise needed to make your lamp business successful. If your timetable allows, schedule an appointment in your branch with a supplier's sales rep, or even better, at the supplier's showroom. A good rep will advise you on merchandising, marketing and product selection for your customer base. Effective energy-efficient bulb displays and green solution centers are available.

Create an educational experience supported by a credible bulb supplier that offers webinars and training seminars on technologies and applications certified by the American Lighting Association, literature on legislation and innovations, as well as field and in-house specialists with the knowledge to provide you with the right lamping solutions. Educational information should be readily available via the supplier's website and other platforms.

Lighting is a technology business. Update your line now with the latest lamp technology and energy efficiency. 2012 is right around the corner and you have less than 500 days left. Are you ready?

Bulbrite President Cathy Choi oversees all operations and coordinates sales, marketing, administrative, research and development, as well as manufacturing activities. She is an ALA-certified Lighting Specialist (LS) and an officer of the ALA Education Foundation Board. Choi is also a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA).

To help distributors and their customers learn more about this legislation, Bulbrite offers a web resource at www.bulbrite.com/EISA that's dedicated to the new law and its impact on light bulbs. Literature is also available that you can distribute to electrical contractors, builders, consumers and other customers.

New Criteria for General-Service Lamps

Current Wattage Maximum Rated Wattage Rated Lumen Range Minimum Rated Lifetime Effective Date
100W 72W 1490-2600 1,000 hours 1/1/2012
75W 53W 1050-1489 1,000 hours 1/1/2013
60W 43W 750-1049 1,000 hours 1/1/2014
40W 29W 310-749 1,000 hours 1/1/2014