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The member companies in the Luminaire Section are committed to providing high quality, energy efficient, and safe lighting products to the public and works to ensure that the interests of the lighting consumer and lighting industry are addressed in technical, government affairs, and market activities in NEMA. The domestic luminaire industry represent about $4.5 billion with outdoor at $1.5 billion and indoor at $3.0 billion. NEMA Luminaire activity is focused on non-residential products which are handled by the American Lighting Association (ALA).



  • Lighting equipment made of any material or combination of materials consisting of a complete lighting unit (exclusive of the light source) designed and constructed to collect, distribute, direct, refract, reflect, or diffuse light from any electric light source so as to provide general and/or localized artificial illumination for all work places in industry and/or for public, institutional and commercial interiors. Also includes area lighting equipment made of any material, or combination of materials, including a means of suspension, and designed for use with integral light sources, or separate light sources, and designed and constructed to collect, distribute, direct, refract, reflect, or diffuse light from any electric light source to provide general artificial illumination (including systems described as louvered ceilings, luminous panel ceilings, and shielded or baffled systems).
  • 1.1 Sockets, fittings, attachments, glassware and other accessories only when sold as an integral part of the lighting.
  • 1.2 All lighting equipment as described above which uses any form of incandescent lighting as its primary integrated light source.
  • 1.3 All lighting equipment as described above which uses any form of high intensity discharge lighting (including low pressure sodium) as its primary integrated light source.
  • 1.4 All lighting equipment as described above which uses any form of fluorescent lighting as its primary integrated light source.
  • Lighting fixtures designed for outdoor application including incandescent, fluorescent, low pressure sodium, and high intensity discharge (HID) fixtures. Products included fall within four basic categories:
  • 2.1 Roadway Lighting: Lighting fixtures generally used for street, bridge, tunnel, roadway, interchange and highway illumination.
    • 2.1.1 Architectural type fixtures: fixtures with roadway optics, architecturally pleasing in design and mounted up to 50 feet above base.
    • 2.1.2 Cobra Head fixtures: Fixtures of the generic type generally classified as cobra head regardless of where fixture is used: Including cobra heads with various lens configurations.
    • 2.1.3 High Mast fixtures: Fixtures mounted 50 feet or more above base.
    • 2.1.4 Specialty Roadway fixtures: Including LPS, fluorescent, deep set-back and outdoor fixtures not included in 2.1.1, 2.1.2, or 2.1.3.
    • 2.1.5 Dusk to Dawn fixtures: Outdoor security fixture, near vertical (NEMA head 201 SA/RMA).
    • 2.1.6 Luminaire supports, suspension hangers and accessories not sold as an integral part of a pole and luminaire support combination. Also newels, ornamental brackets and fittings.
    • 2.1.7 Photoelectric street lighting control devices.
  • 2.2 Area Lighting: Non-aimable lighting generally used for parking, walkways and courtyards.
    • 2.2.1 Architectural Large Area fixtures: Area lighting fixtures with wattage of 250 watts or more (not including high masted lighting defined in 2.1.3 above).
    • 2.2.2 Small Area fixtures: Including post top, building mounted and bollard fixtures using lamps of less than 250 watts.
    • 2.2.3 Garden, Patio, Yard and Other Residential fixtures: Including all incandescent, fluorescent and HID/LPS type fixtures, but excluding dusk to dawn fixtures defined in 2.1.5.
    • 2.2.4 Attachments, accessories and repair and renewal parts of products listed in Area Lighting.
  • 2.3 Floodlighting: Aimable Lighting fixtures for exterior application.
    • 2.3.1 General and heavy-duty floodlighting fixtures.
    • 2.3.2 Sports lighting fixtures: Luminaries designed for sports lighting applications.
    • 2.3.3 R and PAR Type fixtures: Fixtures designed to use R-type and PAR-type lamps.
    • 2.3.4 Quartz Lighting fixtures: Quartz fixtures of residential, commercial and industrial exterior applications.
    • 2.3.5 Attachments, accessories and repair and renewal parts for products listed in floodlighting.
  • 2.4 Specialty Lighting: Special purpose fixtures for signs, excluding those fixtures within the jurisdiction of the scope of Traffic Control Systems Section (3-TS), service station island, underwater fountain, and pool lighting.
  • Adverse Location Lighting: Lighting units generally referred to as vapor-tight, explosion-proof, water-tight, dust-tight, and marine.
  • 3.1 Hazardous location lighting fixtures as covered by UL 844.
  • 3.2 Marine duty lighting fixtures as covered by UL 595.

Excluded from the Section Scope are:

  • Searchlights (regardless of light source).
  • Airport lighting equipment, such as runway approach, runway taxiway and ramp lighting.
  • Devices in the Scope of the Ballast Section of the Lighting Systems Division.
  • Lighting units generally referred to as residential, showcase, exterior-floor, ornamental and residential portable lamps such as but not limited to floor lamps, table lamps, bed lamps, desk lamps, pin-up lamps.
  • Renewal parts for products within the Section Scope unless specifically covered above.

Click for detailed luminaire product scope information.

Click for detailed remote illumination product scope information.

    Technical Activities

    Standards play a vital part in the design, production, and distribution of products destined for both national and international com­merce. Sound technical standards benefit the user, as well as the manufacturer, by improving safety, bringing about economies in product, eliminating misunderstandings between manufacturer and purchaser, and assisting the pur­chaser in selecting and obtaining the proper product for his particular need.

    NEMA devotes much of its time, effort, and resources to voluntary standardization activities. NEMA standards are offered and recommended to become American National Standards under the procedures of the American National Standards Institute, usually under the canvass method. This decision rests with the particular subdivision or subdivisions concerned. NEMA standards are also often submitted for consideration as IEC Standards components or references. It is the intent of the association to continue its support of these, and many more, activities as the best method to continue providing sound and safe electrical products for the use of all.

    Key technical activities include:

    • Binational and North American luminaire safety and performance standards, working with UL and CSA
    • Recessed luminaire compatibility standards
    • American National Standards for roadway and outdoor lighting
    • National Electrical Code® issues and installation practices
    • Micro-ballast and luminaire compatibility
    • Metal halide lamp and luminaire best practices
    • International standards development in IEC TC 34D
    • LUMEX panel activities

    Government Affairs

    Through NEMA, the section develops industry positions on legislative and regulatory initiatives that may affect member products, markets, and customers. The NEMA work has resulted in contributions to public policy development and in promoting competitiveness, technological progress, and public safety. On the Government Affairs homepage members can search for and e-mail federal representatives to convey opinions regarding energy policy or other issues related to the electroindustry.

    NEMA Government Affairs provides specific services to its members and information in the areas of Environment, Health & Safety; Energy; and International Trade & Commerce.

    Key governmental activities include:

    • Advising and working with federal and state authorities on outdoor lighting codes, night light pollution, and light trespass regulations
    • Promoting the National Voluntary Luminaire Efficacy Rating (LER) and Information Program under the 1992 Energy Policy Act for fluorescent, commercial downlight, and industrial HID luminaires
    • Working with the Department of Energy and Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) on federal energy-efficient product recommendations for federal purchasing
    • Working with the Environmental Protection Agency on Energy Star® Buildings program and Luminaire Energy Star product programs
    • Federal procurement requirements and Buy America provisions


    Membership in NEMA is open to any firm actively engaged in the manufacture in North America of a product within the NEMA scope and for sale in the open market. Membership of foreign firms is subject to product section policies and NEMA Board of Governors approval.

    NEMA operates on a fee-for-service basis. Each product section establishes its projects and activities and approves an annual operating budget. A fee is then established using an annual average of net domestic sales of products within the NEMA scope. The section has a tiered dues structure to assist small manufacturers.


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