Policies & Programs
Last Update: August 22, 2012
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Energy Policies, Codes & Programs

As outlined in previous sections, lighting is related to a wide range of energy and environmental impacts, some of which are only just beginning to be understood.  In response to the effects that lighting has on energy use and the environment, an increasing number of codes, policies and standards have been created and implemented in an effort to reign in negative impacts.

Federal legislation has established minimum efficiency standards for lighting products and mandated minimum performance levels for federal buildings.  Individual states are developing aggressive energy codes for buildings.  Independent organizations are developing model codes and green building standards.  Utility companies offer incentives for a wide variety of efficiency efforts.  As technology advances, codes and standards are becoming increasingly stringent.  Some of these measures are developed specifically to address lighting energy use, while others are broader approaches, of which lighting is only a small part.  It is essential that lighting specifiers are aware of the broad range of policies, codes, standards and programs that effect lighting.  In addition to mandatory measures that buildings are required to meet, there are also opportunities for tax rebates or even cash incentives for designers and building owners.

Federal Energy Policy & Standards
The federal Energy Policy Act of 1992 had a major impact on lighting in commercial buildings. By prescribing minimum efficacy standards, it effectively outlawed the manufacture of a number of inefficient or high wattage lamp types. 
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Energy Codes
Energy codes were introduced in the United States in the1970’s in response to the shock of the oil embargo and impending energy shortages. Prior to that time, codes focused primarily on health and safety and had not addressed the management of a natural resource, like energy. 
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Voluntary Programs
Beyond mandatory code regulations, there are also a wide range of voluntary efficiency and sustainability programs.  These programs can range from nationwide whole-building programs that address a broad range of sustainability efforts, to local utility or tax incentive programs for specific efficiency measures. 
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Products & Equipment
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Appliances and Commercial Equipment Standards (ACES) Program  develops test procedures and minimum efficiency standards for residential appliances and commercial equipment.  The ACES program standards cover a broad range of products and equipment, including certain lighting components.  
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Regulations & Incentives

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