Lighting Industry, News, Residential

Could this report remove incandescent from the residential market?

The governments of Australia and New Zealand may have found a way to freeze out incandescent and halogen light sources from the residential lighting market. A report published jointly by the two governments yesterday aims to find out if it is feasible to increase the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for incandescent, halogen and compact fluorescent lamps in order to remove the biggest energy guzzlers from the current residential lighting market and eventually encourage a complete transition to CFL and LED technology.

The report, part of the governments’ E3 series on equipment energy efficiency, states that more than 75 per cent of residential lighting energy consumption is currently estimated to come from incandescent and halogen lamps. It predicts that this number could be reduced by as much as 65 per cent if the energy performance standard is increased.

To encourage a complete transition to CFL and LED technology, the report lists the option of a two-pronged strategy where all new luminaires sold are made compatible with CFL or LED lamps, and the new MEPS levels are made so high that only LED and CFL lamps will meet the standards. The standard could be implemented gradually, possibly in 2-3 years for MR16 lamps and 3-4 years for MV lamps.

The report considers aligning the lighting standards of Australia and New Zealand with those of the EU, which are up for revision. Aligning standards would reduce testing costs for manufacturers, but could create problems if the products available in the two markets differ.

The report will be open for comments until 13 February 2015. Until then the Australian and New Zealand governments are seeking input from consumers and the industry to ensure that regulation will be based on ‘informed decision-making.’

Public feedback sessions will be held in Auckland, Wellington and Sydney to encourage dialogue and elicit advice from lighting professionals about efficient alternatives to current light sources and projected sales and stock of residential lighting.

Australia was one of the first countries in the world to announce regulations aimed at eliminating inefficient incandescent lamps from its market. The MEPS program started in 2009 with an Australian import restriction on tungsten filament incandescent lamps for general lighting and on selling tungsten filament and extra-low voltage halogen non-reflector lamps.

The scope of MEPS for incandescent and halogen lamps has broadened regularly since. Compact fluorescent lamps have been subject to performance standards in Australia since November 2009, and in New Zealand from October 2012.

Separate reports will be published early next year on LED lighting and commercial lighting products.