The US Calls Lights Out For Inefficient Incandescent Bulbs

It’s projected that the news rules will save up to 222 million metric tons of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere over the next 30 years. Image credit: OPgrapher/Shutterstock.com

The Biden Administration is finally calling lights out for energy-thirsty incandescent bulbs, a climate-friendly effort that could help households cut down their energy bills.

The US Energy Department has revised its rules to require manufacturers to sell energy-efficient lightbulbs that produce a minimum of 45 lumens per watt. 

This will effectively result in the ban of inefficient incandescent bulbs – the pear-shaped bulbs with glowing wire centers that use a high wattage – and accelerate the push towards LED bulbs that last 25 to 50 times longer and use significantly less energy. 

The phase-out will allow companies to import non-compliant bulbs until January 2023, and allow retailers to continue selling them until July 2023.

Not only is this good news for the planet, but the energy-efficient lightbulbs could also see households significantly save on electricity bills, according to the department.

“By raising energy efficiency standards for lightbulbs, we’re putting $3 billion back in the pockets of American consumers every year and substantially reducing domestic carbon emissions,” Jennifer M Granholm, US Secretary of Energy, said in a statement. “The lighting industry is already embracing more energy-efficient products, and this measure will accelerate progress to deliver the best products to American consumers and build a better and brighter future.”

This move has been long in the making, first announced as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 under President George W Bush. However, the Trump administration cut the requirements in 2019. The latest revision from the Energy Department puts the plan back on track and seals up some of the loopholes seen in previous incarnations of the act. 

The US is behind many other parts of the world – including the European Union, Canada, and Australia – that announced their incandescent bulb phase-outs long ago. 

It’s projected that the new US rules will save up to 222 million metric tons of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere over the next 30 years. Although some note that the effort is long overdue, the move to ditch energy-hungry bulbs has been welcomed by environmentalists

“Today’s announcement is brilliant news for consumers and the climate. Implementing these overdue and common-sense light bulb efficiency standards will result in annual utility bill savings of $3 billion for consumers and prevent 222 million tons of dangerous, climate-warming carbon pollution over the next 30 years, that’s equal to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of over 48 million vehicles,” Joe Vukovich, energy efficiency advocate from the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement.

“We are long overdue to phase out inefficient old-fashioned light bulbs as this progress was illegally delayed by the Trump administration for more than two years. LED bulbs, which will replace the old incandescents, use one-sixth the amount of energy to deliver the same amount of light and last at least 10 times longer."

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