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Key Product Criteria

Below is a list of the main performance and quality requirements for ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs today and the highlights of the new criteria, which went into effect on December 2, 2008.

Key performance requirements

Efficiency — The efficiency of light bulbs is referred to as efficacy, which is the measure of light output (lumens) compared to the energy (watts) needed to power the bulb. To earn the ENERGY STAR, CFLs must provide at least three times more lumens per watt than incandescent bulbs.

Lumen maintenance — All light bulbs grow dim over time, but ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs must maintain 80 percent of the initial light output at 40 percent of their rated lifetime. This means that after 3,200 hours of use, an 8,000-hour CFL still needs to give off 80 percent of the light it gave off during its first 100 hours of operation.

Lifetime — To qualify for ENERGY STAR, CFLs must have a rated lifetime of 6,000 hours or greater. The current average rated lifetime for ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs is 10,000 hours. With typical use of 3 hours per day, that�s an average lifetime of 9 years.

Starting time — Bulbs must start in less than one second.

Warm-up time — Bulbs with mercury vapor must reach full brightness in less than one minute. Bulbs with amalgam mercury must reach full brightness in under three minutes.

Safety — Bulbs must be UL listed for fire safety. More about UL testing Exit ENERGY STAR

Reliability — Bulbs must pass transient protection and rapid cycle stress tests.

Color consistency — Bulbs must fall within a designated color temperature range.

Color rendering index (CRI) — Bulbs must have a color rendering index of 80 or higher.

Quality control — All qualified bulbs come with a manufacturer-backed warranty and are subject to random independent third-party testing. As of December 2, 2008 all indoor reflector lamps must pass a high heat test for recessed can applications.

Mercury control — Manufacturers must have a commitment form on file with National Equipment Manufacturers Association Voluntary Industry Commitment to Limit Mercury Content in Self-ballasted CFLs sold in the U.S. at www.cfl-mercury.org Exit ENERGY STAR.

Other federal and industry standards — Bulbs must also comply with federal and industry power and operating standards, and meet Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requirements.

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Packaging requirements

Packaging must contain the following items:

  • Model number.
  • Lumens/watts/lifetime listed on principal display panel.
  • Equivalency to incandescent bulbs claim. Qualified products must adhere to guidelines when making equivalency claims.
  • FTC labeling requirements.
  • Warranty — 1 year for commercial use and 2 years for residential use.
  • Address, Web site or phone number for warranty fulfillment.
  • Known incompatibilities with controls or applications (recessed cans, enclosed fixtures, dimmers or three-way switches, photocell and timers, etc.).
  • Starting or operating temperature.
  • Color temperature must be listed on product packaging and must be one of the six designated color temperatures (2700K, 3000K, 3500K, 4100K, 5000K, or 6500K).
  • Assumptions used for savings claims.
  • Packaging must include the Hg symbol for mercury, and one of the following web addresses www.epa.gov/bulbrecycling Exit ENERGY STAR www.epa.gov/cfl Exit ENERGY STAR or www.lamprecycle.org Exit ENERGY STAR for locating lamp recyling facilities.
  • Electromagnetic Interference Statement (FCC requirement). The packaging may read, for example, “This device complies with Part 18 of the FCC rules. If interference occurs move this product away from the device or plug into a different outlet. This product may cause interference to radio equipment and should not be installed near maritime safety communications equipment or other critical navigation or communication equipment operating between 0.45-30MHz.”

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