NSTAR to EPA Energy Star: Address light quality now!

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The Northeast Utilities Companies (NSTAR) filed formal comments and proposals earlier this week urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program to address the light quality of lamp technology.

Credit: Petr Kratochvil

NSTAR was joined by the California Lighting Technology Center and the International Association of Lighting Designers in asking that EPA's Energy Star program to implement higher color rendering criteria.

EPA said in its latest draft lamp specification that a lack of LED lamp color quality is a potential barrier to broader consumer adoption of energy-efficient lighting and EPA will continue to monitor the market and explore opportunities for improving color quality and consistency of lamps in the future.

But utilities like NSTAR believe the time to address lighting quality is now.

A 2011 study by McKinsey suggests that residential and commercial lighting decisions are driven as much by light quality, as they are by the cost of the light bulb.

"The slow market adoption of CFLs over the last 20 years demonstrates that simply because a product produces enough light, saves energy and is cost-effective, broad market adoption of that technology is not ensured," said Carlos Alonso-Niemeyer, energy efficiency program manager of NSTAR a Northeast Utilities Company.  

"To persuade consumers to purchase LEDs instead of incandescent lamps, LED lamps must be seen as high-quality products worth the initial higher price differential. Therefore, LED lamps must closely replicate the color rendering and color appearance of the incandescent and halogen lamps that they replace," he said.

For more:
- see these EPA product specifications

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