In 2007, the U.S. Congress adopted—and President George W. Bush signed into law—minimum energy-efficiency standards for everyday lightbulbs to be gradually phased in between 2012 and 2014, then improved even more by 2020, giving lightbulbs their first major technology update since the days of Thomas Edison. The first tier of energy-saving standards have already been successfully implemented: New and improved halogen incandescents and LED (light-emitting diode) lightbulbs entered the market and became widely available along with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).
The U.S. Department of Energy has now launched the second tier of improved lighting energy-efficiency standards that were required to be finalized by January 1, 2017, and to become effective as of January 1, 2020. Once every inefficient lightbulb in America's four-million-plus sockets is replaced, the standards will:
- Cut the nation's electricity costs by about $12.5 billion annually, saving every household about $100 a year. A state breakdown of savings is available here.
- Avoid 30 new power plants, saving enough electricity annually to power all the homes in Texas.
- Prevent tens of millions of tons of carbon emissions per year.
Standards Have Led to Lighting Innovation and More Options for Consumers
As a result of the standards, we have seen unprecedented levels of innovation by lighting companies big and small and consumers now have more energy-saving lightbulbs to choose from than ever before. There already more than 150 varieties of LED bulbs on the market that meet the Tier 2 standards, using 80 percent less energy than conventional incandescent bulbs.
There Is No Justification for Any Kind of Legislation Preventing Enforcement of the Lightbulb Efficiency Standards
In 2011, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) first introduced an appropriations rider to prevent enforcement of the lightbulb energy-efficiency standards, and the rider has been included in federal government funding legislation every year since. Unfortunately, this provision prohibits federal agencies from spending money to enforce lightbulb-efficiency standards for incandescent bulbs.
The lightbulb energy-efficiency standards are already saving consumer, business, and industrial customers billions on their utility bills while reducing pollution and creating new jobs. U.S. lighting manufacturers are already making energy-efficient bulbs. Any legislation to prevent the Department of Energy from enforcing these energy-saving regulations makes those U.S. manufacturers—as well as American consumers and jobs—vulnerable to the introduction of noncompliant bulbs by foreign companies. We urge Congress to reject all legislation aimed at blocking the government from protecting our citizens and businesses from these substandard products.