The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides acquisition guidance for exterior lighting used for general illumination, a product category covered by FEMP efficiency requirements. Federal laws and requirements mandate that agencies purchase ENERGY STAR-qualified products or FEMP-designated products in all product categories covered by these programs and in any acquisition actions that are not specifically exempted by law.

FEMP's acquisition guidance and efficiency requirements apply to outdoor wall-mounted light fixtures or luminaires, outdoor pole/arm-mounted area and roadway luminaires, outdoor pole/arm-mounted decorative luminaires, fuel pump canopy luminaires, bollards, parking garage luminaires and floodlight luminaires. All other luminaires are excluded.

This acquisition guidance was updated in June 2023.

Find Product Efficiency Requirements

Federal purchases must meet or exceed the minimum efficiency requirements in Table 1. These requirements are given in luminaire efficacy rating (LER), which is the ratio of light output to electrical power input, measured in lumens per watt (lm/W). A higher number indicates a more efficient product (i.e., more light output per unit of power input).

Table 1. Efficiency Requirements for Exterior Lighting
Category Luminaire Efficacy Rating (LER)
Fuel pump canopy luminaires ≥ 128
Parking garage luminaires ≥ 123
Outdoor pole/arm-mounted area and roadway luminaires ≥ 136
Outdoor pole/arm-mounted decorative luminaires ≥ 112
Outdoor wall-mounted luminaires ≥ 126
Bollards ≥ 100
Floodlight Luminaires ≥ 118

Product performance is determined in accordance with industry-recognized test standards including, but not limited to, the following:

  • IES LM-50-13: Approved Method for Photometric Measurement of Roadway and Street Lighting Installations
  • IES LM-79-08: Approved Method for Electrical and Photometric Measurements of Solid-State Lighting Products
  • IES LM-80-08: Approved Method for Measuring Lumen Maintenance of LED Light Sources.

Did You Know?

Equipping exterior luminaires with advanced controls can save even more energy and operating costs than only improving luminaire efficiency.

Make a Cost-Effective Purchase: Save $295 by Buying a FEMP-Designated Product

FEMP calculated that the required model saves money if priced no more than $295 above the less-efficient model. The best available model saves up to $325. Table 2 compares three types of product purchases and calculates the lifetime cost savings of purchasing efficient models. Federal purchasers can assume products that meet FEMP-designated efficiency requirements are life cycle cost-effective.

Table 2. Lifetime Savings for Efficient Wall-Mounted Luminaires
Performance Best Available Required Model Less Efficient
LER 139 126 65
Annual Energy Use 257 286 565
Annual Energy Cost $25 $28 $56
Lifetime Energy Cost $272 $301 $596
Lifetime Energy Cost Savings $325 $295 --


View the Performance and Model Assumptions for Table 2

Performance Column

Input Power: Based on the wattage used by the luminaire with an output of 9,900–10,100 lumens, which is typical for this product category (shown in lm/W).

Annual Energy Use: Calculated according to the IES LM-50-13 test procedure assuming 3,600 operating hours per year (shown in kWh).

Annual Energy Cost: Calculated based on an assumed electricity price of $0.099/kWh, which is the average electricity price at federal facilities. Learn more about Federal Government Energy/Water Use and Emissions.

Lifetime Energy Cost: Calculated as the sum of the discounted value of the annual energy cost and assumed product life of 15 years. Future electricity price trends and a 3% discount rate are from the Annual Supplement to NIST Handbook 135 and NBS Special Publication 709, Energy Price Indices and Discount Factors for Life Cycle Cost Analysis – 2022 (NISTIR 85-3273-37 update 1).

Lifetime Cost Savings: The difference between the lifetime energy cost of the less efficient model and the lifetime energy cost of the required model or best available model.

Best Available Model Column

Calculated based on the most efficient model in the database collected from manufacturers as of June 2023, with values shown rounded to the nearest dollar.

Required Model Column

Calculated based on new FEMP-designated efficiency requirements; values shown are rounded to the nearest dollar. Federal agencies must purchase products that meet or exceed FEMP-designated efficiency requirements.

Less Efficient Model Column

Calculated based on the previous FEMP requirement for this product type.

Determine When FEMP-Designated Products Are Cost-Effective

An efficient product is cost-effective when the lifetime energy savings (from avoided energy costs over the life of the product, discounted to present value) exceed the additional up-front cost (if any) compared to a less efficient option. FEMP considers up-front costs and lifetime energy savings when setting required efficiency levels. Federal purchasers can assume FEMP-designated products are life cycle cost-effective. In high-use applications or when energy rates are above the federal average, purchasers may save more if they specify products that exceed federal efficiency requirements (e.g., the best available model).

Claim an Exception to Federal Purchasing Requirements

Products meeting FEMP-designated efficiency requirements may not be life cycle cost-effective in certain low-use applications or in locations with very low rates for electricity or natural gas. However, for most applications, purchasers will find that energy-efficient products have the lowest life cycle cost.

Agencies may claim an exception to federal purchasing requirements through a written finding that no FEMP-designated product is available to meet functional requirements or that no such product is life cycle cost-effective for the specific application. Get additional information about federal product purchasing requirements.

Incorporate Federal Acquisition Regulation Language in Contracts

These mandatory requirements apply to all forms of procurement, including construction guide and project specifications; renovation, repair, energy service, and operation and maintenance contracts; lease agreements; acquisitions made using purchase cards; and solicitations for offers. Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 23.206 requires agencies to insert the clause at FAR section 52.223-15 into contracts and solicitations that deliver, acquire, furnish, or specify energy-consuming products for use in federal government facilities. To comply with FAR requirements, FEMP recommends that agencies incorporate efficiency and energy performance requirements into both the technical specification and evaluation sections of solicitations.

Requirements to purchase energy-efficient products can sometimes be perceived as in conflict with other acquisition requirements, including Buy American, Small Business, or other set-asides. These requirements are not mutually exclusive. If you run into problems trying to meet multiple procurement requirements, please reach out to FEMP for assistance.

Find Federal Supply Sources 

The federal supply sources for energy-efficient products are the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). GSA sells products through its Multiple Awards Schedules program and online shopping network, GSA Advantage!. DLA offers products through the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia and online through FedMall (formerly DOD EMALL). Products sold through DLA are codified with 13-digit National Stock Numbers and, in some cases, a two-letter Environmental Attribute Code (ENAC). The ENAC identifies items that have positive environmental characteristics and meet standards set by an approved third party, such as FEMP.

The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) is a worldwide classification system for e‑commerce. It contains more than 50,000 commodities, including many used in the federal sector, each with a unique eight-digit, four-level identification code. Manufacturers and vendors are beginning to adopt the UNSPSC classification convention, and electronic procurement systems are beginning to include UNSPSC tracking in their software packages. UNSPSCs can help the federal acquisition community identify product categories covered by sustainable acquisition requirements, track purchases of products within those categories, and report on progress toward meeting sustainable acquisition goals. FEMP has developed a table of ENERGY STAR and FEMP-designated covered product categories and related UNSPSC codes.

Exterior Luminaire Schedules and Product Codes

GSA offers exterior luminaires through Multiple Award Schedule Hardware & Tools 332510C.

Exterior lighting UNSPSCs include:

  • Garage or canopy lighting: 39111538
  • Roadway or highway lighting: 39111603
  • Outdoor wall-mounted fixtures: 39111620.

Buyer Tips: Make Informed Product Purchases

Typical light sources vary across the six categories of exterior lighting products and often include high-intensity discharge sources (which include high-pressure sodium [HPS] and metal halide [MH]). Other technologies include fluorescent, compact fluorescent lamps, induction, and, more recently, light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Each of these lighting technologies has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, which may make it more or less attractive depending on the application. Of these categories, only solid-state or LED exterior lighting is considered FEMP-designated.

Table 3. Common Exterior Lighting Technologies
Features Solid-State Lighting (i.e., LED) High Intensity Discharge Fluorescent Induction
High Pressure Sodium Metal Halide Linear/U-Lamp Compact
LER Best Better Better Better Good Better
Source/System Efficacy Best Best Better Best Good Best
System/Lamp Life Best Better Good Better Good Best
White Light Source Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Light Level Options Inherently Dimmable Bi-Level Only Bi-Level only Can Be Dimmed Can Be Dimmed Bi-Level Via Multiple Lamps
Controllability Yes Bi-Level Bi-Level Yes Yes Bi-Level
Initial Cost High Low Low Low Low Medium
Notes LEDs are point light sources that can provide better uniformity compared to single lamps. Lamp re-strike takes 1-4 minutes. Lamp re-strike takes 1-15 minutes. Fluorescent lamps require closer spacing for the same illumination levels compared to other sources. Temperature sensitive. Induction lamps are large sources, which makes effective use of the lamp's light more difficult due to limitations of reflector geometry and optics.

The key to making an informed and cost-effective choice for each exterior lighting application is gathering the most accurate and relatable data on the performance, cost, and reliability of the products.

The Design Lights Consortium (DLC) is a good example of a program that lists products in certain luminaire categories that have verified performance. The DLC also has a search capability and has additional performance requirements to ensure high-quality products.

FEMP provides information on solid-state lighting solutions and a lighting retrofit workbook.

Lighting Controls

Additional energy can be saved through the use of automatic lighting controls. The lights in unoccupied areas should be turned off, and controls can perform this function more reliably than occupants. There are many control options, including wireless, to choose from.

User Tips: Use Products More Efficiently

LED exterior luminaires can save even more energy and operating costs, as well as extend fixture lifetime, through the use of networked controls that allow lighting to adapt to environmental conditions and adjust lighting levels based on real-time activity. Individual luminaires can be connected as part of a larger network along with advanced control system components, such as motion detectors and video cameras. (Source: Lynch, Stan. 2015. Making Outdoor Lighting Control Smarter, More Efficient. Electronic Products. Last accessed March 28, 2017.) In addition, many LED manufacturers offer luminaires that can help reduce light pollution. (Source: Alexander, David J. Check It Out: An Energy Efficient Exterior Checklist. PG&E. Last accessed March 28, 2017.)


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provided supporting analysis for this acquisition guidance.