LIGHTING BY CRAIG DILOUIE
179D tax deduction
Created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005,
the CBTD provided an accelerated tax
deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot
as an incentive to install energy-efficient
building systems, including interior
lighting. The tax deduction expired and
renewed several times over the years,
most recently with the passage of the 2015
PATH Act, which retroactively extended
the CBTD from Dec. 31, 2014, to Dec. 31,
2016. However, PATH made it more difficult to qualify for the tax deduction by
raising the energy-efficiency baseline
from the 2001 to the 2007 version of the
ASHRAE/IES 90. 1 energy standard.
The CBTD expired on Dec. 31, 2016.
As a popular tax provision, however,
it may be renewed again in some form
in the future. In the meantime, lighting
upgrade projects completed in 2016 may
qualify for the CBTD. For more details,
The Environmental Protection Agency’s
(EPA) Energy Star program is highly
influential with utility rebate programs,
which use it to qualify certain lighting
products, notably lamps. In fact, about
95 percent of utility rebate programs use
Energy Star to qualify lamps. In 2015, the
EPA announced V2.0 of the Lamp Specification, which became effective Jan. 2,
2017. The updated specification raises
the performance bar for lamps seeking
Energy Star certification.
An analysis showed that none of the
compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) qual-
ifying for the older V1.1 specification
qualify for V2.0. While utilities may con-
tinue promoting V1.1-compliant lamps,
The EPA raised minimum required
efficacy while modifying performance
criteria. For omnidirectional lamps, V2.0
sets a minimum efficacy of 80 lumens
per watt (LPW) if less than 90 CRI, or
70 LPW if 90-plus CRI. Minimum ser-
vice life falls from 25,000 to 15,000 hours
as a potential cost-reduction measure.
Among directional lamps, V2.0 sets a
minimum efficacy of 70 LPW for less
than 90 CRI or 61 LPW for 90-plus CRI.
For decorative lamps, minimum efficacy
increased to 65 LPW. Additionally, the
EPA introduced a streamlined proce-
dure allowing manufacturers to certify
decorative luminaires simply by adding
an Energy Star-certified lamp.
Lamps V2.0 followed Luminaires
V2.0, which was also released in 2015 and
became effective June 2016. Luminaires
V2.0 dissolved the distinction separating
residential and commercial luminaires,
added surface-mounted LED retrofit
products, and expanded the outdoor
luminaires category. For more information, visit www.EnergyStar.gov.
In February, DOE rules took effect that
regulate the efficiency of ballasts sold
as part of new metal-halide luminaires.
This was predicted to impact the availability of these luminaires. The DOE
published the rules in 2014, giving manufacturers three years to comply.
The new rules updated previous
energy standards that virtually elimi-
nated probe-start lamps and ballasts
from new medium-wattage (150–500W)
luminaires, which represent the major-
ity of metal-halide luminaire shipments.
The rules strengthened energy stan-
dards for medium-wattage luminaires
while creating new standards for low-
wattage (50–149W) and high-wattage
(501–1,000W) segments. Energy stan-
dards also are specific to ballast type
and whether the luminaire is rated for
indoor or outdoor applications. Compli-
ant options include pulse-start magnetic
and electronic ballasts.
Of the previous exemptions, two
remain in effect: 480-volt electronic ballasts and regulated-lag ballasts designed
for applications such as heavy industrial,
security and street and tunnel lighting.
Metal-halide luminaires rated only for
150W lamps, rated for use in wet locations,
and containing a ballast rated at ambient
air temperatures higher than 50°C are no
longer exempt. Otherwise, the rules do
not cover replacement ballasts nor lamp
wattages larger than 1,000W.
In the past three years, manufacturers
have assessed their products and continued, redesigned or discontinued them.
Some gaps in availability may occur as
metal-halide technology declines. The
DOE predicted payback periods ranging from 4½ to 20 years, depending on
various factors. As an exception, 1,000W
lamp ballasts generate an expected payback of less than one year. In cases where
luminaires are redesigned and reintroduced with a different ballast, the result
may be an aftermarket mixing designs
For more information about new
metal-halide luminaires, consult the
Laying Down the Law
Lighting legislation on energy efficiency
MILESTONES IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY raised the bar on energy efficiency
in the lighting industry. In January, Energy Star Lamps V2.0 took effect, and it was
predicted to significantly influence lamps promoted by utility lighting rebate programs. In February, new Department of Energy (DOE) rules took effect, regulating
the efficiency of metal-halide ballasts sold as part of new luminaires. These rules
are expected to affect luminaire availability. Additionally, the 179D Commercial
Buildings Tax Deduction (CBTD) expired on Dec. 31, 2016.
DILOUIE, L.C. is a journalist and educator specializing in the lighting industry. Learn
more at ZINGinc.com and LightNOWblog.com. I S T