Effort to Repeal Energy Efficient Bulbs Fails in the House

This week, the House of Representatives defeated the BULB (Better Use of Light Bulbs) Act which would have overturned the federal energy efficiency standards for every day light bulbs that were signed into law by President Bush in 2007. This is great news as these standards are poised to deliver massive benefits: 

  • Annual electricity savings of greater than $12 billion per year 
  • Save as much electricity as that generated by 30 large (500MW) power plants, and 
  • Prevent more than 100 million tons of CO2 emission per year, which is equal to the emissions from 17 million cars.

Since the standards were passed, we have seen more innovation in the lighting space in the past three years than we have in the last 125, when the first incandescent was invented.  Due to the standards, consumers will now have access to incandescent bulbs that use at least 28 percent less power than the older bulbs, as well as many other energy savings choices including compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs) that save even more and last a lot longer too.  Due to the onslaught of misinformation spread by the BULB Act sponsors, I feel obligated to remind everyone one more time -- YOU CAN CONTINUE TO BUY AN INCANDESCENT BULBS LIKE THIS ONE AFTER THE STANDARDS GO INTO EFFECT.

Halogen_Incandescent (Credit Anthony Clark_NRDC).JPG

Now that we made it through this hurdle in the House, we hope everyone involved will shift their attention to helping consumers get ready for the new wave of bulbs that will be coming. We need all the involved parties including the U.S. Department of Energy, retailers such as Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart and Ace Hardware, and lighting manufacturers to help get the word out on how the new standards work and how to select the right bulb.

To help jumpstart the consumer education campaign, NRDC put together a two-page fact sheet, and a light bulb buying guide that helps consumers choose the new more efficient bulb to replace their old 100-, 75-, 60- and 40-Watt incandescent. NRDC_JPEG_chart_1.jpg

The chart below from the light bulb buying guide also helps consumers understand the total cost of ownership of the various bulb choices.NRDC_JPEGs_chart_2.JPG

Also, for a state-by-state breakdown of consumer savings from the lighting standards, see this recent NRDC analysis.

In closing, we are happy to see that wiser heads have once again prevailed. The US has a long and successful record of setting energy efficiency standards for a wide range of products ranging from refrigerators, clothes washers to office lighting.  The new standards will simply ensure that a more efficient and money saving bulb goes into each of our nation’s 4 billion screw based sockets. 

What could be more American than that!!

About the Authors

Noah Horowitz

Senior Scientist and Director, Center for Energy Efficiency, Energy & Transportation program

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