Federal and state energy reduction mandates and building codes stress on the importance of conserving energy. Lighting accounts for about 40 percent of a commercial building’s electric bill, making lighting upgrades one of the most effective means of creating more efficient public buildings. They are also one of the simplest efficiency improvements, often accomplished with little disruption to daily operations or occupants. Therefore do not expect building energy codes and standards to spare lighting in any way to maximize energy saving.

Federal Mandates Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT 2005), which addressed many energy management requirements, including energy use measurement and accountability. It also mandated that new federal buildings must achieve savings of at least 30 percent below ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2004, or the 2004 IECC if cost-effective.

Two years later, Congress enacted the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007). One key mandate of this act is Section 433, which includes the Building Energy Efficiency Performance Standards requiring steep reductions in fossil fuel energy relative to usage in the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey.

Additionally, EISA 2207 mandates that government buildings slash energy consumption 30 percent by 2015. Then in 2009, President Obama signed an executive order that requires federal agencies to set 2020 emission reduction targets and numerous other efficiency improvements. A15-page executive order, “Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance,” goes into great detail on how each target and improvement is to be reached.

State Mandates The requirement for states to adopt and enforce a building energy code is a direct result of the Energy Conservation and Production Act (ECPA) as amended by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct). All states have energy mandates and building codes.

The California Energy Commission recently updated its Title 24 Energy Efficiency Standards, improving by 30 percent what “up to code” means for commercial buildings. The new standards, which take effect January 1, 2014, introduce requirements for photosensors, occupancy sensors and multi-level lighting controls, both indoors and out, making adaptive lighting the new standard in California.

Adaptive lighting, lighting that automatically dims or shuts off when it’s not needed, represents one of the largest near-term opportunities for energy savings, and its inclusion in the state’s building code marks vital progress. The California Energy Commission projects the non-residential standards alone will save the state 372 GWh every year. Hopefully, they will also pave the way for other states pursuing climate goals.

The California Public Utilities Commission has also called for a 60 percent to 80 percent statewide reduction in electrical lighting consumption by 2020, in its Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan. This is on top of the goal to make all new residential construction net-zero by 2020, and commercial construction net-zero by 2030.

Since lighting currently accounts for nearly 30 percent of California’s electricity use, the extensive use of lighting controls is absolutely essential to meeting these net-zero goals. Many items in Congressional legislation direct the DOE to develop formal rules to implement mandates in legislation and to accelerate SSL technology. Because of this, the DOE has invested in the research and development of SSL, including LEDs, with industry partners. -

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