Training and certification to ensure that field technicians have the skill to test nonresidential lighting controls and mechanical systems required by the 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards was approved by the California Energy Commission Dec. 12 Current standards don\u2019t specify the qualifications or training that field technicians must have to be authorized to complete the acceptance testing. That changes under new revisions to the standards. The amendments, which are set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2014, create independent third party certification and training procedures to verify nonresidential lighting controls and mechanical systems comply with the latest building standards, which were approved by the commission in May. The latest addition to the regulations would ensure that mechanical contractors who regularly test and balance heating, ventilation and air condition (HVAC) systems have the equipment and experience needed to conduct testing properly, according to the commission. \u201cWith the [new building standards] effort, we dramatically improve the performance of buildings in California,\u201d commissioner Karen Douglas said. \u201cThe acceptance testing addition approved today is yet another important part of that package.\u201d During the meeting, the commission also approved the creation of a special specification for high efficiency LED lamps. Under the decision, LEDs that adhere to a set of voluntary quality metrics would be designated \u201cCalifornia quality.\u201d The California specification is a set of voluntary quality metrics for LED lamps that use E26 (\u201cEdison screw\u201d) and other types of standard lamp sockets. It\u2019s a recommendation to the Governor, Legislature, and regulators on what a \u201cCalifornia quality\u201d LED lamp should be. Energy Commission staff says the specification was developed in response to evaluations of programs that provided incentives for compact fluorescent lamps. The evaluations found that the poor performance of compact fluorescents was a major impediment to increasing market penetration of highly efficient products. It was then decided that a \u201cCalifornia quality\u201d specification for LEDs would avoid similar problems for this next generation of high-efficiency lighting, with the thinking being that it would help create a positive public perception of LED lamps to encourage the public to choose them instead of incandescent lamps. \u201cThe LED specification\u2026I think is going to make a real difference to Californians and to the market,\u201d Douglas said. The commission also approved a template for a contract to help develop the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. The desert plan is a collaborative effort whose purpose is to conserve and manage plant and wildlife communities in the desert regions of California while facilitating renewable energy projects. It\u2019s being developed under the California Natural Community Conservation Planning Act, the Federal Endangered Species Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.