New Outdoor Lighting Agreement Will Reduce Need for New Power Plants While Improving Lighting Quality | Alliance to Save Energy

New Outdoor Lighting Agreement Will Reduce Need for New Power Plants While Improving Lighting Quality

Release Date: Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Washington, D.C., November 3, 2009: Today, lighting equipment manufacturers and energy efficiency organizations announced agreement on a legislative package that would create new minimum efficiency standards for many types of outdoor lighting products. If enacted by Congress as new legislation, the agreed upon new standards would reduce U.S. lighting energy use by about 24 to 42 billion kWh annually, equivalent to the annual output of 3 to 6 new 1000 MW power plants (the typical size of a new nuclear unit).

The agreement was reached by the National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association (NEMA; several energy efficiency organizations, namely the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Alliance to Save Energy , and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP); and a major utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E).

The agreement establishes initial efficiency standards for outdoor pole-mounted lighting fixtures, then calls on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to quickly set revised standards. Covered fixtures primarily light roadways and parking lots. In addition, the agreement requires double-ended halogen lamps (a type of high-wattage incandescent lamp that is used outdoors) to meet specific efficiency requirements and prohibits sales of mercury vapor lamps as of 2016. New mercury vapor fixtures and ballasts were prohibited in a 2005 law, so this next step completes the transition away from mercury vapor towards more efficient types of light.

“This agreement establishes modest initial standards for outdoor lighting equipment, but paves the way for big savings if DOE does a good job when setting revised efficiency standards,” stated Steven Nadel, ACEEE Executive Director. “Only a minority of fixtures on the market today is affected by the initial standards; much larger savings will occur if the revised DOE standards move the average fixture to performance levels met by the better fixtures now on the market.”

Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas stated, "As both a Senator and the Honorary Chair of the Alliance to Save Energy, I appreciate the unwavering commitment made by manufacturers, consumer and advocacy groups, and utilities to negotiate this agreement. This public-private cooperation will help move our nation towards a more energy-efficient future."

ACEEE estimates that the initial standards will save about 12 billion kWh/year. The revised standards could increase savings by 12 to 30 billion kWh/year for total savings of as much as 42 billion kWh/year (or roughly enough power to meet the total needs of more than 3.6 million typical U.S. households).

“The agreement will also improve lighting quality from outdoor fixtures, since the most stringent standards apply to fixtures with high glare and light trespass. Standards are less stringent for fixtures with better glare and trespass control,” said Jennifer Amann, the Director of ACEEE’s Buildings Program.


The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting economic prosperity, energy security, and environmental protection. ACEEE was involved in the legislation establishing federal efficiency standards, and has been active in all rulemakings since then. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, contact ACEEE, 529 14th Street N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20045 or visit aceee.org.

The Appliance Standards Awareness Project is dedicated to increasing awareness of and support for cost-effective appliance and equipment efficiency standards. Founded in 1999, ASAP is led by a steering committee that includes representatives from energy efficiency organizations, the environmental community, consumer groups, utilities, and state government. See standardsASAP.org.

The Alliance to Save Energy is a coalition of prominent business, government, environmental, and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, economy, and national security.