White House Cancels Energy Efficient Lamp Rules

In 2007 Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) with the goal of increasing energy efficiency across the economy.  Part of EISA has affected the lighting industry in the form of mandated efficacy of light sources. The initial efficacy rules targeted A-Lamps (standard household light bulbs) and set the efficacy level above that of incandescent but below that of halogen lamps.  The result was a slow shift to the more energy efficient technology.  Over the years the energy efficiency requirements have been expanded to more lamp shapes, always in keeping with technological ability so that we never faced a lamp shortage or loss of a lamp shape.  Today, more than 50% of lamps sold are LED that exceed even the most stringent requirements.

On September 4th the administration announced that it was going to cancel a new set of requirements that would have taken effect in January 2020 that would have applied to products such as decorative medium base lamps and MR type lamps.  In my opinion, this is another example of the administration cutting off its nose to spite its face.  As with the threat to “investigate” automakers who agree with the State of California’s proposed energy efficiency requirements, this effort to undo energy efficiency despite the monumental consensus that we need to reign in our energy consumption isn’t going to go have any effect.  No lamp manufacturer is going to reopen or build new factories to make incandescent lamps when it’s obvious that A) the next administration is going to reinstate the efficacy requirements B) the public has embraced the energy savings of LED lamps, and C) the companies know that it would be bad for their image to turn their backs on mitigating climate change.

White House to Relax Energy Efficiency Rules for Light BulbsThe New York Times

Tariffs Impact Lighting Costs

We have been hearing from contractors that many fixture manufacturers, including Acuity Brands, Hubbell Lighting and Eaton, are being forced to raise prices because of the recent tariff increase on Chinese goods.  

The tariff on lighting components and fixtures was 10%.  However, on May 10th the tariff was raised to 25%.  The 15% tariff increase is too much for manufacturers to absorb so they, and ECs, consider this a Force Majeure event (unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract).  By invoking Force Majeure they are voiding previous pricing and are issuing new quotes showing the cost increases.  

This doesn’t mean that all fixture prices are going to increase by 15%.  The amount of Chinese made components varies by manufacturer and fixture line.  More Chinese components will mean a higher cost increase.  To us this means that until the tariff and trade situation with China settles down lighting designers would do well to keep their clients informed of the varying impact on fixture costs and therefore fixture budgets.