Energy & Environment

Biden officials push to hike lightbulb efficiency after Trump reversal


The Biden administration is proposing the restoration of Obama-era rules aimed at increasing efficiency of consumer lightbulbs by including more types of bulbs in regulations.

The Energy Department said Tuesday it is proposing a return to the Obama administration’s definitions that includes cone, globe and candle-shaped bulbs in certain regulations after the Trump administration exempted them.

The proposal indicates a possible two-step process to incorporate the additional bulbs in the rule and then increase regulations on all of the bulbs — including common pear-shaped bulbs. The stricter rules are expected to push the market toward LEDs.

Tuesday’s proposal doesn’t itself propose tighter standards, but the agency indicated in May that it was eyeing the implementation of a standard that’s expected to undermine incandescent bulbs in favor of LEDs.

Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, called the proposal a “major step” but urged the administration to rapidly implement the stricter standard.

“They should move quickly to implement the backstop standard,” he said, adding his group has found that each extra month of delay costs consumers $300 million in lost savings from more efficient bulbs and that a year will cause an additional 9.5 million metric tons of climate-warming emissions. 

When the Trump administration rolled back attempts to increase lightbulb efficiency, it argued that consumers shouldn’t have to pay for more expensive bulbs.

Tags efficiency standards Light-emitting diode lightbulbs

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