DeGette’s LED Bill Clarifies How New Lighting Technology is Regulated

Dec 31, 2017
In The News

The U.S. Senate has passed a bill that promotes energy conservation and encourages innovations in LED lighting, authored by Congresswoman Diana DeGette, D-Colo. The bill heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

“The holiday season will be all the brighter thanks to our bipartisan efforts to speed the nation’s progress in the use of energy-efficient lighting,” DeGette said in a press release. “Our country’s conservation standards must remain up to date with the latest developments in high-tech lighting and energy-efficient appliances. This bill will remove roadblocks to progress in LED development and help lower energy costs for American businesses and households.”

DeGette’s office said the legislation, the EPS Improvement Act (H.R. 518), clarifies and modernizes energy conservation rules that were established after the Energy Policy Act of 2005. When the law was written, LEDs  were not yet on the market; they later came to be classified by the Department of Energy as External Power Supplies (EPS).

However, EPS drivers use a different kind of power conversion design than LEDs. In simpler terms, EPS are generally understood to be devices that connect electronics to plug-loads, such as the detachable cords that provide power to laptops, smart phones and tablets, according to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power.

LEDs require a constant voltage to work as they’re supposed to, conserving more power than traditional lighting.

“LED is a highly energy efficient lighting technology, and has the potential to fundamentally change the future of lighting in the United States,” reports the Department of Energy. “Residential LEDs — especially ENERGY STAR rated products — use at least 75 percent less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting.”

By 2027, widespread use of LEDs could save the equivalent annual electrical output of 44 large electric power plants (1000 megawatts each), and a total savings of more than $30 billion at today’s electricity prices, the department said.

Along with saving energy, LED lights are safer. Take Christmas lights, for example. The department said up to 25 strings of LEDs can be connected end-to-end without overloading a wall socket.

Proponents of the measure said on the House floor that this is pro-manufacturing, pro-consumer legislation that clears up how the Department of Energy regulates the new technology.

The Center for Western Priorities ranked Colorado as a top state in energy conservation in October, followed by Utah and Wyoming.