DOE Takes Steps on Overdue Efficiency Standards for Light Bulbs

WASHINGTON– The U.S. Department of Energy issued a Request for Information (RFI) notice today re-evaluating its prior determination that the Secretary of Energy was not required to implement the statutory backstop requirement for general service lamps (GSLs). This is the next step toward implementing the efficiency standards for everyday light bulbs that were due to go into effect on January 1, 2020.  Under these standards, the agency would implement a minimum standard of 45 lumens per watt which would phase out today’s incandescent and halogen light bulbs. 

The following is a statement from Noah Horowitz, director of the Center for Energy Efficiency Standards at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council):

“This is great news for consumers and the environment. DOE has taken the first step toward implementing common-sense light bulb efficiency standards, which will save customers around $2.5 billion per year on their utility bills and prevent about 50 million tons of carbon pollution by 2030.

“The LED bulbs, which will replace the old incandescents, use one-sixth the amount of energy to deliver the same amount of light and last at least 10 times longer. That means lower utility bills, more money in consumers' pockets, and less climate-warming pollution.

“DOE is required by law to move forward with these standards and should implement them as quickly as possible.”

Similar light bulb efficiency standards went into effect in California and Nevada on January 1, 2020, and 2021, respectively, and incandescents were phased out in Europe back in mid-2018. There are still around a billion sockets in the U.S. that contain inefficient light bulbs, and incandescent and halogens still represent over a third of current U.S. sales.

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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