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Obama Administration Announces More Efficient Lighting Standards
New national minimum energy efficiency requirements for light bulbs announced by the Obama Administration will save more energy than any other standard ever issued by any administration, according to a coalition representing environmental and consumer organizations, state government, and utilities.
The new standards will make hundreds of millions of fluorescent tube lamps more efficient, phase out conventional incandescent reflector lamps, effectively extending the phase out of inefficient incandescent products initiated by Congress in 2007 to the common cone-shaped bulbs used in recessed light fixtures and track lighting.
The new lamp standards, which will take effect in 2012, will have little effect on the outward appearance or lighting performance of the affected light bulbs. For fluorescent lamps, highly efficient "T8" lamps will replace "T12" lamps, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
For reflector lamps, standard incandescent and halogen technology will be replaced with highly efficient halogen infrared reflector technology, a change that will save consumers energy, but not result in any outward change to reflector lamp appearance. In 2007, Congress enacted a phase out of standard incandescent light bulbs in favor of advanced incandescent technology and other high efficiency products starting in 2012
"With our nation's birthday around the corner, President Obama has provided the nation an early gift in the form of big energy savings, dollar savings, and pollution cuts," says Andrew deLaski, Executive Director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP). "However, even bigger savings could have been achieved."
According to the Department of Energy (DOE), lighting uses nearly 40 percent of all electricity used in commercial buildings. The standards announced today affect the more than 500 million fluorescent tube lamps and 265 million reflector lamps sold each year in the United States.
"This final standard is a substantial improvement on the draft standard released by the Department of Energy in the closing days of the Bush Administration," says Steven Nadel, Executive Director of ACEEE. "We are heartened that President Obama himself chose to make the announcement and to focus on the importance of energy efficiency."
According to DOE, the new standards announced today will save up to 1.2 trillion kilowatt-hours over thirty years, an amount about equal to the total consumption of all homes in the U.S. in one year. Businesses and consumers will gain up to $35 billion in net savings and global warming carbon dioxide emissions will be cut by up to 594 million metric tons, an amount equal to the annual emissions of nearly 110 million cars.
The maximum levels analyzed by DOE would have increased energy savings by another 230 billion kilowatt-hours over thirty years, or roughly enough to meet the power needs of 22 million more U.S. households for a year. The higher standards would have saved businesses and consumers as much as another $11 billion, according to DOE.
DOE is slated to set a total of 25 new standards during the current presidential term.