Green Piano Lamps: How California’s Title 20 will affect us

This is a difficult topic for me to report on because I am not fully informed about all new aspects of California’s Title 20, but this policy is created as a “Green Law” so my first reaction is to support it.  I have to plan for some changes in an effort to help my customers be more energy efficient in their choices.  What for now seems like California news may soon be national policy anyway.  In the short term, we will only be able to ship certain models of piano lamps to California, but our vendors have already started the process of compliance to include more styles.

Unfortunately, the models most affected by this policy are actually the more energy efficient choices that do not meet the definitions within Title 20.  The target of the law is incandescent bulbs that can be replaced by more energy efficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs).  The initial cost of these bulbs is much higher, but they have shown both a return on investment in long-term energy savings and overall price reductions as consumer demand for the new bulbs increases production efficiencies.  Our best selling piano lamps from House of Troy currently use CFLs, and are very energy efficient, but they pre-date the definitions used in Title 20.  The LED piano lamps, our most efficient models are also excluded for now.  When they find compliant lights, we’ll opt for those.

We can make most of the lamps that previously used incandescent bulbs compliant right away simply by switching to approved CFLs.  I will make this a preferred option on our site, but it is more expensive.  Consider yourself warned.  For other piano lamps, I’ll have to determine which ones comply and perhaps include a California disclaimer until our vendors catch up.  I’ve already switched most of the bulbs in my home to CFLs which I think is a good and simple act.  I also like the Energy Star washing machine commercial…or from their site, “Over the life of your new washer, you’ll save enough money to pay for the matching dryer.”  The same savings can come from lighting choices.

From House of Troy:

On January 1, 2010 California Title 20 requirements for portable lighting will go into effect.  It is part of a state mandate issued by the California Energy Commission to reduce average state-wide energy consumption not less than 50% from 2007 levels for indoor residential lighting.  This is, in effect, the demise of the incandescent bulb in favor of more energy efficient light sources.  “Title 20 is the law,” says Dick Upton, president of the American Lighting Association.  “The best thing people can do is to look at the issue and see how they can use it to their advantage.”  ALA worked closely with the California Energy Commission staff to develop five compliant energy efficient light source options for all portable lamps.

At House of Troy we have begun to modify our products to meet CEC requirements. We will add the Energy Star rated CFL bulbs wherever possible.  There are many LED products currently on the market that would seem to be excellent and efficient options, however the current LED requirements of Title 20 are so stringent that they do not qualify.

A federal energy bill that recently passed the U.S. House and will go under Senate consideration this month will likely imitate Title 20, in making these requirements national. Clark Linstone of Pacific Coast Lighting in California, says the state’s role in the issue of energy efficient lighting “presents a real challenge to local retailers and manufacturers. A federal bill would help level the playing field.”

On a personal note, I welcome the change though I would prefer it originate from consumers and businesses, not government mandates.  We’ll do our part to educate our customers and support Green choices.

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