But last December, at the very moment when consumers and businesses needed help understanding the new standards, Congress cut the Department of Energy’s funding to implement them. Domestic manufacturers are still complying with the law, but DOE’s hands have been tied when it comes to stopping the import of noncompliant, wasteful bulbs, as well as for helping educate consumers and businesses about the standards and the variety of new lighting choices, which include improved, energy-saving incandescent bulbs.

The facts are clear: even after accounting for any difference in purchase prices, energy-efficient light bulbs save money and provide as good or better light quality as the bulbs they replace. The LUMEN Coalition, of which the Alliance to Save Energy is a founding member, says a typical U.S. family can save from $50 to more than $100 a year by switching to efficient lighting. The exact savings, as you would expect, depend on the number of bulbs changed and how much they are used.
Overall, the switch to more efficient lighting means Americans will save enough energy annually to power all the homes in Pennsylvania and Tennessee! Greater convenience is another benefit – the new bulbs need replacement much less often, thanks to their increased longevity.
Consumers can easily find the right bulbs for most everyday household uses by consulting the new package labels describing features including lumens (or light output), color, energy use and savings.
To adapt an old adage, the proof is in the lighting: LUMEN helped Arlington, Va., interior designer Rose DiNapoli with an energy-efficient lighting makeover of her home. Initially skeptical, DiNapoli embraced efficient lighting when she saw it in action. She even opted to replace more than two dozen bulbs that are not covered by the lighting standards in order to enjoy both the monetary savings and the enhanced ambiance they created in her home.
The Alliance to Save Energy encourages all U.S. consumers and businesses to make the switch and reap the benefits of today’s energy-efficient lighting options.
Most importantly, we urge Congress not to keep Americans “in the dark.” Congress must allow DOE to implement the law, thereby preserving U.S. jobs, protecting U.S. manufacturers and helping U.S. consumers.
Callahan is president of the Alliance to Save Energy.