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Possible Changes to Incandescent Lamp Standards under Consideration

The U.S. Department of Energy is seeking information by 16 October on annual domestic sales and shipments of general service incandescent lamps and other incandescent lamps to determine whether to amend the mandatory energy efficiency standards for these products. U.S. law requires the DOE to consider a minimum efficacy standard of 45 lumens per watt for these items. If the agency fails to complete a rulemaking or a final rule does not produce savings greater than or equal to the savings from such a standard, the DOE must prohibit sales of general service lamps that do not meet such a standard beginning on 1 January 2020. While the DOE was supposed to issue a final rule by 1 January 2017, a restriction approved by Congress as part of an appropriations bill had impeded the agency from moving forward.

GSILs are standard incandescent or halogen type lamps intended for general service applications. These lamps have a medium screw base; a lumen range of not less than 310 lumens and not more than 2,600 lumens or, in the case of a modified spectrum lamp, not less than 232 lumens and not more than 1,950 lumens; and are capable of being operated at a voltage range at least partially within 110 and 130 volts. The current definition does not include 22 specific incandescent lamp categories, including appliance, black light, bug, coloured, infrared, left-hand thread, marine, marine signal service, mine service, plant light, reflector, rough service, shatter-resistant, sign service, silver bowl, showcase, 3-way incandescent, traffic signal, vibration service and certain other lamps.

In addition to GSILs and incandescent lamps specifically exempt from the current definition, there are several other categories of incandescent lamps. The definition of GSIL includes only lamps with medium screw bases, within a specific lumen range, and that can be operated at a voltage at least partially within 110 and 130 volts—leaving many other incandescent lamp categories unaddressed (e.g., incandescent lamps with lumen outputs greater than the 2,600 lumen upper limit specified in the GSIL definition; incandescent lamps with other base types, such as candelabra bases; and incandescent lamps that operate at other voltages, such as 12 volts).

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