Lightbulb efficiency improving under federal rules

The efficiency of light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs have improved greatly in recent years as federal mandates have tightened, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported.

Under a 2007 law, the Energy Department has banned the sale of incandescent lightbulbs and some other inefficient technologies.

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The rules have hit Republican opposition in recent years, leading Congress to cut funding for the most recent tightening of standards earlier this year.

Nonetheless, the efficiency of the best LEDs has increased in most quarters of the last three years, the EIA said in a Tuesday report.

“Improvements in lighting technology for light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs have increased lighting efficiency, or efficacy, as well as color quality,” the agency wrote.

“In September of this year, several manufacturers released Energy-Star-qualified bulbs surpassing 100 lumens per watt.”

That compares with 13 to 18 lumens per watt for incandescent bulbs and 55 to 70 lumens per watt for compact fluorescent lights.

LEDs are still the most expensive bulbs available to most consumers, but their costs are falling dramatically, the EIA said.