Requirements for New DOE Voluntary Energy Savings Specifications

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For many commercial buildings in America, lighting represents about one-third of the total energy consumed. On average, over half of the lighting fixtures in commercial buildings operate for more than 10 hours a day and collectively consume more than 87 terawatt hours of electricity annually, which is equivalent to the energy used by nearly 3 million homes.

Recently, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced new voluntary energy-saving specifications for lighting troffers (rectangular overhead fixtures used in commercial buildings) and parking lot and parking structure lighting. Developed by the DOE’s Commercial Building Energy Alliances (CBEA), these new commercial lighting specifications can reduce energy use by more than 40% compared with conventional lighting and have the potential to save businesses up to $5 billion annually.

The new CBEA High Efficiency Troffer Specification provides minimum performance levels for LED and fluorescent troffers used in commercial buildings, including offices and restaurants. The new specification delivers energy savings of between 15% and 45% compared with conventional systems.

Through the CBEA, the Energy Department collaborates with building owners, operators, and manufacturers to develop minimum performance requirements that are voluntarily adopted by CBEA members. Increased adoption of energy-saving specifications can help American businesses cut costs, reduce energy use, and increase their competitiveness. Building operators can voluntarily adopt these specifications for new buildings or building upgrades to reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions.

One of the biggest companies of electrical consumption is Wal-Mart. It is now use energy-saving lights that meet the specification and report energy savings of 58% in new parking lot sites — it is upgrading more than 250 of its existing lots. Other companies considering the upgrades are Lowe’s and MGM Resorts.

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