Energy Department seeks stricter light bulb efficiency standards

The Energy Department proposed Friday a new round of energy efficiency standards for light bulbs.

The agency predicted that, when the new standards take effect in 2020, they would save consumers and businesses $9 billion in electricity and bulb costs over a 30-year period.

ADVERTISEMENT
The new standards only apply to fluorescent and light-emitting-diode (LED) bulbs and exempt incandescent bulbs, thanks to a spending bill provision that prohibits regulators from implementing rules to make them more efficient.

“Higher efficiency means lower utility bills for American families and businesses,” the Energy Department said in a Friday blog post about the proposal.

“LED lights, which will continue to gain popularity in the market, use 80 percent less power than many of today’s bulbs. They also last far longer,” the agency said. “That means big savings on energy and maintenance bills.”

Republicans frequently criticize the federal government’s efficiency standards as being unattainable, and a House Republican proposed Thursday to completely eliminate the government’s authority to implement efficiency rules.

That anger has led to recent spending bill provisions that prohibit the Energy Department from mandating more efficient incandescent bulbs.

Those bulbs are exempt from Friday’s proposal, but by the time it takes effect in 2020, they will have to meet a specific efficiency standard that is lower than other bulbs.

The Friday rule is the second step in standards that Congress mandated in 2007. The first one took effect in 2012.

The energy savings from the efficient bulbs will prevent 52 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the agency said.