Wed, 11/28/2012 - 18:55 -- Chris

Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. EPA and Department of Energy. A product with the Energy Star label means that the product has met the minimum set of requirements set forth by the program. Just because a product has the Energy Star label doesn't mean it is a good product, it just means that the product is probably more energy efficient that similar products without the label and that the manufacturers have gone through the process of meeting Energy Star requirements.

Mapawatt will only recommend light bulbs with the Energy Star label.

From the Energy Star Light Bulb page:

"Earning the ENERGY STAR means products meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Lighting products that have earned the ENERGY STAR deliver exceptional features, while using less energy."

Click here to find out how a product earns the Energy Star label.

Energy Star promotes an app on their light bulb web page called Light Bulb Finder that recommends Energy Star bulbs for your application and shows payback information based on an estimated (based on zip code) or user input electricity rate.  We've tested the app out and found it a little limited.  For instance, it estimates the price of a 60 W replacement CFL bulb at $5.37, but we know you can get a pack of 4 CFL bulbs for that same cost.  Also, it only recommends 1 bulb per application.  Why not recommend a mix of bulbs, both CFL and LED?  It is helpful for applications where you may not know of a good option for a replacement and it can help give an idea.

Performance Characteristics: Current Criteria:
Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) Nominal CCT: 2700K, 3000K, 3500K, or 4000K
Color Maintenance The change of chromaticity over the minimum lumen maintenance test period (6000 hours) shall be within 0.007 on the CIE 1976 (u’,v’) diagram.
Color Quality (Color Rendering Index or CRI) CRI >= 80, R9>0
Dimming If a product is dimmable, packaging must state this. Minimum efficacy, light output, CCT, CRI, and power factor of dimmable lamps will be confirmed with the lamp operated at full power.
Warranty A warranty must be provided for lamps, covering material repair or replacement for a minimum of three (3) years from the date of purchase.
Allowable Lamp Bases Must be a lamp base listed by ANSI.
Power Factor For lamp power <= 5W and for low voltage lamps, no minimum power factor is required.
For lamp power >= 5W, power factor must be = 0.70.
Minimum Operating Temperature Integral lamp shall have a minimum operating temperature of -20°C or below.
LED Operating Frequency >= 120 Hz
Electromagnetic and Radio Frequency Interference Integral LED lamp must meet the appropriate FCC requirements for consumer use (FCC 47CFR Part 15).
Audible Noise Integral lamp shall have a Class A sound rating.
Transient Protection Power supply shall comply with IEEE C.62.41-1991, Class A operation. The line transient shall consist of seven strikes of a 100kHz ring wave, 2.5kV level, for both common mode and differential mode.
Operating Voltage Lamp shall operate at rated nominal voltage of 120, 240, or 277 VAC, or at 12 or 24 VAC or VDC.

CFL Key Product Criteria:

Key performance requirements

Efficiency — The efficiency of light bulbs is referred to as efficacy, which is the measure of light output (lumens) compared to the energy (watts) needed to power the bulb. To earn the ENERGY STAR, CFLs must provide at least three times more lumens per watt than incandescent bulbs.

Lumen maintenance — All light bulbs grow dim over time, but ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs must maintain 80 percent of the initial light output at 40 percent of their rated lifetime. This means that after 3,200 hours of use, an 8,000-hour CFL still needs to give off 80 percent of the light it gave off during its first 100 hours of operation.

Lifetime — To qualify for ENERGY STAR, CFLs must have a rated lifetime of 6,000 hours or greater. The current average rated lifetime for ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs is 10,000 hours. With typical use of 3 hours per day, that’s an average lifetime of 9 years.

Starting time — Bulbs must start in less than one second.

Warm-up time — Bulbs with mercury vapor must reach full brightness in less than one minute. Bulbs with amalgam mercury must reach full brightness in under three minutes.

Safety — Bulbs must be UL listed for fire safety. More about UL testing Exit ENERGY STAR

Reliability — Bulbs must pass transient protection and rapid cycle stress tests.

Color consistency — Bulbs must fall within a designated color temperature range.

Color rendering index (CRI) — Bulbs must have a color rendering index of 80 or higher.

Quality control — All qualified bulbs come with a manufacturer-backed warranty and are subject to random independent third-party testing. As of December 2, 2008 all indoor reflector lamps must pass a high heat test for recessed can applications.

Mercury control — Manufacturers must have a commitment form on file with National Equipment Manufacturers Association Voluntary Industry Commitment to Limit Mercury Content in Self-ballasted CFLs sold in the U.S. at Exit ENERGY STAR.

Other federal and industry standards — Bulbs must also comply with federal and industry power and operating standards, and meet Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requirements.

Packaging requirements

Packaging must contain the following items:

  • Model number.
  • Lumens/watts/lifetime listed on principal display panel.
  • Equivalency to incandescent bulbs claim. Qualified products must adhere to guidelines when making equivalency claims.
  • FTC labeling requirements.
  • Warranty — 1 year for commercial use and 2 years for residential use.
  • Address, Web site or phone number for warranty fulfillment.
  • Known incompatibilities with controls or applications (recessed cans, enclosed fixtures, dimmers or three-way switches, photocell and timers, etc.).
  • Starting or operating temperature.
  • Color temperature must be listed on product packaging and must be one of the six designated color temperatures (2700K, 3000K, 3500K, 4100K, 5000K, or 6500K).
  • Assumptions used for savings claims.
  • Packaging must include the Hg symbol for mercury, and one of the following web addresses or for locating lamp recycling facilities.
  • Electromagnetic Interference Statement (FCC requirement). The packaging may read, for example, “This device complies with Part 18 of the FCC rules. If interference occurs move this product away from the device or plug into a different outlet. This product may cause interference to radio equipment and should not be installed near maritime safety communications equipment or other critical navigation or communication equipment operating between 0.45-30MHz.”

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