13 Things to Watch in 2020

13 things to watch in 2020

Our Annual “Baker’s Dozen”

By Alex Baker

Happy New Year! I wish you a most luminous third decade of the new millennium. Below please find the second installment of Baker’s Dozen, some government- and policy-related items IES Members may want to look out for in the coming year.

1. The IES is co-sponsoring the 2020 DOE Lighting R&D Workshop, leveraging the long-term partnership between our organizations to advance the quality and efficiency of lighting through science and engineering. Join DOE and IES in San Diego January 28-30 for a gathering of top lighting scientists and industry experts sharing the latest on lighting science and technology advances. This year the Workshop’s format is expanded with additional tracks so you can earn IES CEUs while attending the sessions that best address your areas of interest.

2. The DOE Lighting R&D Program marches forward under the leadership of Dr. Karma Sawyer and the newest member of DOE’s lighting team, Dr. Brian Walker. Astute long-time observers will note the subtle Program name change from “SSL” toward “Lighting” more broadly. DOE’s November Request for Information spoke to this change: “While there are still significant opportunities to improve the core solid-state lighting technology, the technology and industry have changed significantly since the original Congressional authorization.” Many will support this expansion; how about you?

3. Outdated references may get updated. A few doors down, DOE’s intrepid Appliance and Equipment Standards Program staff has adapted to the deregulatory inclinations of this administration. More than a dozen IES standards are incorporated by reference (IBR) into DOE’s lighting test procedures, but some are deprecated versions updated multiple times since incorporation. For various reasons it makes sense for IBR standards to be kept up to date. If you have experience in this area that would inform efforts to update IES IBRs in the coming years, I’d appreciate hearing from you.

4. IES LM-79-08 is IBR, with a troublesome catch. The LM-79 IBR supports Federal Trade Commission Lighting Facts labeling, with one important exclusion: “Do not use goniophotometers” for measuring lamp light output, or for determining CCT or CRI (10 CFR §430 Subpart B Appendix BB). This necessitates duplicative integrating sphere measurements for values readily and accurately obtained by goniophotometers. Following discussions between IES, DOE and NIST, the Department may see the potential for burden reduction that would come from allowing goniophotometers. Stay tuned. Maybe we can also update the reference to ANSI/IES LM-79-19.

5. Outside L’Enfant Plaza, morale among efficiency advocates appears low. It is essentially impossible to get anything done in Congress today, including and perhaps especially progressive energy policy. Funding for advocacy seems shaky, some leaders in the space have recently left for the exits and long-brewing legal battles like rescission of the DOE’s General Service Lamp (GSL) definition are heading to court where the cases seem likely to languish. Let’s hope in 2020 more elected officials will learn that no matter their positions on the climate crisis, everyone wins with energy efficiency.

6. The California Energy Commission is moving forward with the GSL definitions rescinded by DOE. Procedurally speaking the federal law had not yet entered the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and thus was never officially the law of the land. So goes the argument that there was no “rollback” as you cannot roll back that which wasn’t law in the first place; likewise, there was no prohibited “backsliding” of efficiency regs. Everyone is licking their wounds from this fight as we wait to see if manufacturers will contest the CEC’s decision.

7. The Title 24 2022 code development cycle starts now. This month California begins implementing the 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, and the new cycle has begun. Timelines provided by CEC indicate the Commission is looking for draft code proposals by March. The IES will submit proposals to the CEC in parallel with the independently owned utilities (IOUs), the California Energy Alliance and others. Please contact me with proposals you’d like considered for incorporation.

8. The California Energy Alliance has laid a path for universal adoption of an outcome-based code (OBC) compliance pathway in Title 24. For 2022 the goal is to add outcome-based compliance within the existing Exceptional Designs provisions. Inclusion of OBC as an official alternate Title 24 compliance pathway—parallel and equivalent to the current performance and prescriptive pathways—is the goal for 2025. The goal for 2028 is loftier: universal adoption of outcome-based code in California. Look to March for the CEA’s first major lighting deliverable.

9. While we’re on codes, the 2019 edition of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1 was recently published with an important and significant change: for the first time, lighting power allowances for the space-by-space method and the building area method were modified to be “more representative of real-world conditions with the inclusion of updated IES recommendations, room cavity ratios, additional surface reflectance categories, light loss factors, and an LED technology baseline with updated efficacy values.” Promotion begins now and adoption will of course take years, but this is an important step toward ensuring that quality lighting design is not sacrificed in pursuit of energy savings.

10. The DesignLights Consortium will publish Version 5.0 of their SSL Technical Requirements in early 2020. Some may say “yeah, whatever,” but this fifth version is different because of the focus on quality metrics and forward-looking connectivity requirements. If finalized as drafted, Version 5.0 will block qualifications of flickering, low color rendering, highly efficacious glare bombs that a solely efficacy driven specification would promote. How many of the proposed improvements will be included in the final version? We’ll soon find out.

11. The IES Aviation Lighting Committee is bringing the future of airfield lighting technology to the traveling public. This year the Committee’s membership will continue supporting the transition to solid-state lighting as well as the Federal Aviation Administration’s evaluations of new solar power electrical infrastructure, improved infrared signatures for airfield light fixtures, and in-pavement light fixture bolt strain with static and trafficking loads.

12. ANSI/IES TM-21-19 will be published in 2020. Some luminous flux maintenance claims (e.g. L70) now exceed human life expectancy in many countries. Remember, claims beyond six times the LM-80 test duration are not compliant with TM-21. This first revision of TM-21 will be an American National Standard. It and its accompanying calculator will help bring an
end to such ridiculousness.

13. Lighting will remain human-centric in 2020. Let’s dispense with this term.


Alex Baker

Alex Baker

Alex heads government affairs and public policy efforts for the IES, working closely with federal and state agencies, elected officials, and allied organizations. With nearly 20 years in the lighting industry, Alex previously worked in standards development for Philips,... More info »