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Goolettsville, TN, United States, 2014/11/14 - The Department of Energy sets forth a regulation that creates a new metric for measuring ballast efficiency. DOE Federal Ballast Ruling Effective November 14 - Allanson.com.
The outdoor sign lighting industry benefits from numerous lighting solutions available in the market. In an era where Neon lighting is fading, Fluorescents still stand strong. Although LEDs are rising in popularity, Fluorescent signs continue to play a major role in the Sign Lighting Industry. And with this strong presence, attention has quickly turned to their performance and their level of energy efficiency.
In November 2011, The Department of Energy (DOE) issued new rules regulating the efficiency of fluorescent lamp ballasts, which take effect on November 14, 2014.
What is the DOE Federal Ballast Ruling?
DOE Energy Conservation Standards for Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts sets forth a regulation that creates a new metric for measuring ballast efficiency and establishes a higher standard of efficiency that will impact many of today’s fluorescent T8, T5 and T12 ballasts. Ballasts that do not comply will be prohibited from manufacture and import in the U.S., but existing inventories can be sold until they are exhausted.
Outdoor cold weather ballasts were originally excluded from the energy conservation standards. ‘DOE found that the market share of cold temperature sign ballasts was about 1 percent in 2005. Despite their relatively small market share, the energy savings potential per ballast is substantial due to their operation of large numbers of high output lamps. Replacing a magnetic with an electronic sign ballast could reduce energy consumption by as much as 25 35 percent. Given that sign ballasts exist at more than one level of efficiency, DOE determined that it is technologically feasible to improve the energy efficiency of sign ballasts.’ (76 FR 20090 2011-7592 Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts).
DOE changed their perspective on how to calculate the efficiency requirement from a focus on light output (Ballast Efficacy Factor) to Ballast Luminous Efficiency. Light output is measured independently of the new metric. Both input and output power are now measured ratios of output power are considered against input power.
The following formula is used to calculate the efficiency of Fluorescent Lamp Sign Ballasts according to DOE standards, which is based on ballast luminous efficiency (BLE) calculations.
Ballast Luminous Efficiency = (Total test ballast lamp arc power)/(Ballast Input Power) × β
Where the Total Lamp Arc Power is the sum of the lamp arc powers for all lamps operated by the ballast measured concurrently by a 6 channel power analyzer, the input power to the ballast measured by another power analyzer and β is equal to the frequency adjustment factor. β = 1 for high frequency Electronic Ballasts and β = 0.94 for low frequency Ferromagnetic Ballasts, therefore putting the Ferromagnetic Ballast at a disadvantage over the Electronic Ballast.
Outdoor sign ballasts must also acquire UL Type 2 rating and be designed, labelled, and marketed for use in this application.
How the DOE Ballast Ruling Affects Your Business
Manufacturer’s must now evaluate their existing product to ensure whether they comply or not. For those that do not, they must make a decision to reengineer or discontinue the affected product.
Anything less than the required calculated BLE is not acceptable by DOE regulations. This has a tremendous impact on the manufacture and import of Ferromagnetic Ballasts in the U.S., as it is not economically viable to redesign the product to meet DOE energy efficiency requirements. As a result, Ferromagnetic Ballasts will no longer be available, once all existing inventory has been depleted.
The challenge that a number of Sign Shops and Sign Service Replacement Shops now face is finding a suitable direct replacement on the field. The good news is that Electronic Ballasts will take the reins and become the leader in the fluorescent lighting category.
DOE certified Electronic Ballasts are much lighter and weigh less than their Ferromagnetic Ballast counterparts. These Electronic Ballasts are now much more energy efficient and reduce consumption by as much as 25 -35 percent, as mentioned earlier. This is a huge savings opportunity for sign users, especially when they start seeing a faster return on investment. ROI doesn’t stop here. The total number of ballast types required to stock will be reduced, since each ballast will now operate on a wider range of lamp footages and input voltages.
Here’s How Allanson Lighting Components Can Help
Allanson Lighting Components (allanson.com) offers both Series Wired and Parallel Wired Electronic Sign Ballast Solutions.
RSS Series Wired Electronic Sign Ballast
Allanson’s RSS Ballast features the efficiency of solid state with the convenience of conventional series wiring. This allows for ‘wire to wire’ matching to any Ferromagnetic Ballast in the field.
RSS Ballasts are designed as a more efficient direct replacement for traditional ferromagnetic sign ballasts, which translates to less time on site. This ballast offers a color to color matching of wires, making it a great service ballast when replacing its obsolete ferromagnetic counterpart.
EESB Parallel Wired Electronic Sign Ballast
Allanson’s EESB Ballast offers ease of wiring for new sign installs, which is favored by higher volume production sign builders. They can also be used as field replacements for ferromagnetic ballasts, but require rewiring of the lamp sockets. Rewiring diagrams are provided to minimize guesswork.
For more information, please visit Allanson's website, or contact customer service via email cservice[.]allanson.com or phone.