News Updates for the Week of March 12 - Energy Watch News

News Updates for the Week of March 12

1.   Webcast: Municipal Solid-State Street Lighting Consortium Retrofit Financial Analysis Tool On April 3 at 1:00 p.m. ET, the U.S. DOE will host a 60-minute live webcast on the Retrofit Financial Analysis Tool developed by DOE’s Municipal Solid-State Street Lighting Consortium. Doug Elliott of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will provide a guided walk-through of what the tool can do for you, and how to use it to evaluate costs and benefits associated with converting to LED street and roadway lighting. To register, visit:
2.      NEMA Publishes Standard for SSL Retrofit Lamps The US National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has published NEMA SSL 4-2012 entitled “SSL Retrofit Lamps: Suggested Minimum Performance Requirements.” The standard applies to integral LED lamps, which are defined as a lamp with LEDs, an integrated LED driver, and a base that meets appropriate American National Standards (ANSs) and is designed to connect to the branch circuit via a lampholder/socket that meets appropriate ANSs. The contents of SSL 4 may be viewed at Other SSL-related standards from NEMA:
3.      Energy Star Luminaires Effective Date Approaching, Says EPA The Energy Star Luminaires v1.1 specification will become effective on April 1, requiring manufacturers to change their product labeling unless the products are tested according to the new criteria. This new specification replaces the Residential Light Fixtures v4.2 and Solid State Lighting Luminaires v1.3 specifications, and can be downloaded at In May 2011, the EPA postponed the effective date for Energy Star Luminaires v1.0 from October 1, 2011 to April 1, 2012. This was to allow Energy Star manufacturing partners and EPA-recognized certification bodies and laboratories the necessary time to appropriately apply the technical requirements contained in the new specification. On April 1, 2012, only those light-fixture models that have been third-party certified as meeting the Luminaires v1.1 requirements will appear on the Energy Star Qualified Products List.
4.      Street Lighting Turns to LEDs for Longevity and Efficiency Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have been appearing in traffic signals and vehicle headlights for years and are poised to affect another source of light we use to navigate our cities and towns. The street lighting retrofit market is ripe with opportunity. Municipal street lighting retrofitted with LEDs has enhanced several communities’ nighttime environments, while significantly reducing energy consumption and maintenance costs. Administrators are well-versed in the financial strains of street lighting. It can account for up to one-quarter of a municipality’s electric bill, while maintenance can cost another 15 to 25 percent of their annual operating expense.
5.      Electric Bills Up in March an All Hawaiian Islands Hawaiian Electric Co. said the effective rate for electricity in Honolulu rose to 32.6 cents a kilowatt hour in March from 32 cents per kilowatt-hour in February.  Maui Electric Co. customers saw rates rise to 36.3 cents a kilowatt-hour this month from 35.8 cents a kilowatt hour in February. Hawaii island residential rates rose to 41.3 cents a kilowatt-hour from last month’s 40.6 cents. On Kauai, the rate rose to 42.6 cents a kilowatt-hour. Hawaii typically has the highest cost for electricity in the nation. The national average was 11.52 cents per kilowatt-hour in December.  3/07 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser
6.      How to Claim Tax Credits for Your 2011 Energy-Efficient Home Upgrades – It’s tax season, and time to claim your energy-efficient home upgrades on your 2011 income tax return. Find out what energy-efficient home improvements are eligible for federal tax credits, and which forms you’ll need to claim them. Download IRS Form 5695  More Info on Energy Efficiency Tax Credits:
Alliance tax resource for individuals: Energy Efficiency Home and Vehicle Tax Credits
7.      DOE Reopens L-Prize PAR38 Competition – The second category of the L Prize competition has been revised and relaunched, and will reward US manufacturers of ultra-efficient LED replacements for PAR38 lamps. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has reopened the PAR38 category of the  L-Prize competition. This challenges the US lighting industry to develop an exceptionally high-performance, ultra-efficient LED alternative for PAR38 halogen lamps.
8.      “Green” Light Bulb Costs You $50 The good news: The DOE has awarded a $10 million prize for a “green” but affordable light bulb that’s available to the public. The bad news: The bulb costs $50. The “L Prize” was announced by Energy Secretary Steven Chu last year, to push manufacturers to come up with a green bulb “affordable for American families,”  The competition also required parts of the bulb to be made in America.  The L Prize winner is a $50 bulb made by Philips. Similar LED bulbs are going for less than half that cost, the Post reported. 3/08 The Washington Post
9.      LED Prices May Not Be Too High for Consumers for Long – Many in the electrical industry thought it would take a while for LEDs to gain ground, due to their high prices. Opinions had been voiced that CFLs would fill in the transition from low-cost incandescents to affordable LEDs. Recently, however, it appears that LEDs are already falling in price, enabling consumers to choose to go right on by CFLs and use LEDs now. Some recent, unrelated news items serve as evidence to this point:
  • Consumer will pay more says Robert Gfeller, EVP of merchandising at Lowe’s 
  • Lumens-per-dollar introduced by Cree to measure lighting 
  • Falling towards the sweet spot pricing of $10….the ‘sweet point’ for LED replacements for 60W incandescent bulbs is set at $12 
  • Price check: The Home Depot….. prices on showed a $29.97 price for a 14W LED flood light bulb. The price posted for a two-pack of 8.6W replacements for 40W incandescent was $19.94, bringing the unit price under $10 each. 
  • An LED for under $5 from Lemnis Inc. of San Francisco
10.  More Jobs, But No Change in Unemployment Rate – Data released Friday morning by the Bureau of Labor statistics show the unemployment rate for February holding at 8.3%. The Employment Situation Summary shows employers added 227,000 jobs in the month, slightly more than expected, according to analyst forecasts. It was also the third straight month that employers added more than 200,000 jobs. Construction employment changed little in February, after two consecutive months of job gains. 3/09 HCN
11.  Gallup: Unemployment at 9.1%, But 19% Need Jobs – The unemployment rate shot up by half a percentage point in February, according to figures released by the polling organization Gallup on Thursday. The jump from 8.6 percent in January to 9.1 percent last month is the largest month-by-month increase in more than a year, Gallup said. Gallup’s figures differ from the official government unemployment rate because they do not adjust the figure for seasonal variations or include anyone under 18. 3/08 Newsmax
12.  U.S. Petroleum Product Exports Exceeded Imports in 2011 for First Time in Over Six Decades – The United States in 2011 exported more petroleum products, on an annual basis, than it imported for the first time since 1949, but American refiners still imported large, although declining, amounts of crude oil, according to full-year trade data from EIA’s Petroleum Supply Monthly February report. The increase in foreign purchases of distillate fuel contributed the most to the United States becoming a net exporter of petroleum products. U.S. petroleum product net exports (exports minus imports) averaged 0.44 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2011, with imports at a nine-year low of close to 2.4 million bbl/d and exports at a record high of nearly 2.9 million bbl/d.
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