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Learn More: California Energy Commission (CEC) Lamp Certification

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has issued the Voluntary California Quality Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Lamp Specification for LED lamps used in residential applications. This new specification, commonly referred to as “CEC” or “California Quality Spec,” has set an LED lamp performance baseline for utilities to consider that is more stringent than ENERGY STAR. Some large California Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) such as Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) already recognize this specification and currently offer higher-tier rebates for lamps that meet the requirements. In the future, it is likely only California Quality Spec qualified products will be eligible to receive residential rebates in the state of California.

The California Quality Spec focuses on five quality attributes for LED lamps. Differences with ENERGY STAR are noted where applicable.

1) Color temperature and color consistency- Color temperature must fall within a 4-step Macadam ellipse of the 2700K or 3000K points. Fewer steps create less color variation and a more uniform visible color for each color temperature. ENERGY STAR requires a 7-step Macadam ellipse tolerance.
2) Color rendering- CRI ≥90 with an R9>50 to ensure better representation of colors. ENERGY STAR only requires CRI ≥80 with an R9>0.
3) Dimmability- Must be flicker and noise-free from 10-100%. Testing procedures will be the same as the new ENERGY STAR standard.
4) Rated life/warranty- Must comply with ENERGY STAR minimum lamp life requirements. Lamps must carry a minimum five-year, free-replacement warranty for indoor and outdoor use in homes only. ENERGY STAR only requires a three-year warranty.
5) Light distribution- Omnidirectional and spotlights must meet ENERGY STAR requirements. Flood lamp beam angles must be between 45° and 110° with 10% of total lumens emitted in the 60°-90° zone. The California Quality Spec does not recognize “semidirectional” or “nonstandard light output” classifications

Testing Process 
The testing process and requirements are similar to ENERGY STAR in regards to lifetime and other aspects, so products will still undergo ENERGY STAR testing to qualify for the California Quality Spec. However, only testing results that meet the stricter California specification requirements will qualify products for the higher-tier incentive programs and rebates.

Will the California Quality Spec Apply to the Commercial Market?
At the moment, the Voluntary California Quality Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Lamp Certification only applies to California Investor Owned Utility residential rebate programs. However, the CEC is in the process of making parts of this specification a California standard and eventually California code. Also, it is possible that in the long term many aspects of this specification will be adopted by utility programs and standards in the commercial market nationwide.

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