The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released new energy-efficiency standards for metal-halide lighting fixtures. Key changes include promoting a shift to electronic and pulse-start ballasts across a broader range of metal-halide products. The new rules go into effect in 2017.
The new regulations encourage a shift to pulse-start and electronic ballasts. Today, magnetic ballasts still account for approximately 90% of the market. The improvements in energy efficiency made possible with electronic ballasts, along with improvements in performance characteristics ranging from dimming to lumen maintenance to color stability, have not overcome reliability concerns.
Craig DiLouie, writing on the Lighting Controls Association’s blog, said the standard may affect availability of some 50W to 1,000W luminaires. Luminaires based on magnetic ballasts that must be redesigned or replaced with electronic ballasts will have to be retested, which he suggests may result in some gaps in availability.