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More Light for Less Money

2011 October 17

By Brittney Gordon

As you may have already heard, our light bulbs are changing. They’ll be just as bright but use less energy, cost less, and better protect the environment. Starting in 2012, all screw-based light bulbs sold in the U.S. must meet new federal standards for energy efficiency established by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. Under this law, screw-based light bulbs must use fewer watts for a similar light (a.k.a. “lumen”) output. The law’s energy efficiency standards for light bulbs will be phased in over the next three years (see chart below).

Using light bulbs that provide the same light output but take less energy to run will mean that consumers save money on their utility bills. These savings can make a real difference since lighting accounts for about 12 percent of the average household’s energy bill. Using less energy also helps protect the environment by reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Another positive change we will see in 2012 is a shift in how we purchase light bulbs. Instead of looking for wattage to determine which bulb to buy, we can now look at the light bulb’s lumens. Lumens tell us how much light a bulb will provide versus Watts, which tell us how much energy the bulb uses.

The Federal Trade Commission has designed a new label that you will see on light bulb packages starting next year. These labels will tell you everything from the brightness of the bulb (lumens), estimated operating costs, how long the bulb should last and what color the light will be. Here’s a sample.

This law will not ban any one lighting technology but will provide buyers will a range of better bulb choices in a variety of colors, bulb types, and light levels, including improved incandescent bulbs, CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs), and LEDs (Light Emitting Diode Light Bulbs).CFLs represent the best value for consumers today. They use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.  A CFL that has earned the ENERGY STAR can save more than $40 in electricity costs over its lifetime.

About the author: Brittney Gordon is a member of the ENERGY STAR communication team. She came to EPA one year ago after a career as a broadcast journalist.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

12 Responses leave one →
  1. armansyahardanis permalink
    October 17, 2011

    The Suns Are Crying, Now !!!

    The stars in the Universes like the people worldwide. They need brightness and happiness. We (including the stars) are greedy of the energy and the suns confuse why and what do We want. So, if it can save money for energy efficiency, The Suns should be thanks to ENERGY STAR and U.S. EPA that caring them and the suns smile like we taste of the summers season. Good luck….

  2. Goodbye2Romance permalink
    October 18, 2011

    By adopting newly light bulbs can definitely do good to our environment,as the ozone layer in the South pole has become wider and wilder,it is estimated that in the middle of this century the average temperature of the earth would increase 2 or 3 degrees,and it turns out the sea level of coastal city ike NewYork would also increase 10cm,and this is the inconvenient truth.

  3. sovereign funding.com permalink
    October 18, 2011

    I just love my new lightbulbs, and I have noticed a big change in the electric bill, which is always good news.

  4. RandomName permalink
    October 19, 2011

    I think the new light bulbs are a great thing! The same, or possibly more energy for less money? why wouldn’t someone want that!

  5. RandomName permalink
    October 19, 2011

    new light bulbs are great! More energy without spending as much! Our technology is advancing and protecting our world. This could lead to so much more progress.

  6. Anonymous permalink
    October 25, 2011

    Why Not? If the CFL’s break your house is a toxic mess that needs professional cleanup.

  7. David permalink
    October 30, 2011

    Dear Director:
    This initiative to save energy is a small but critical step in raising public awareness on energy saving. While developing renewable sources of energy is important, it is also critical to get the public more involved in reducing the waste of the energy they currently use. Light bulbs are one such source of wasteage. It is a great way to save energy without an extra tax burden on the public.

  8. peterdub permalink
    December 9, 2011

    Good to see the note that EPA don’t necessarily endorse those saving stats!

    We should all be aware and concerned about the environment
    But let’s deal with the actual problems in that regard!

    Apart from affecting people’s product choice,
    the actual switchover savings are not that great =
    less than 1% of overall energy use, and 1-2% grid electricity is
    saved, as shown by USA Dept of Energy’s own referenced statistics, and confirmed by other official information
    with alternative and more meaningful ways to save energy in
    electricity generation, grid distribution and consumption.

    Light bulbs don’t burn coal or release CO2.
    Power plants might.
    If there’s a problem – deal with the problem,
    rather than a token ban on simple safe light bulbs,
    light bulbs that people obviously like to use
    (or there would not be a “need” to ban them).

  9. peterdub permalink
    December 9, 2011

    It is good to see the note that EPA don’t necessarily endorse those saving stats!

    We should all be aware and concerned about the environment
    But let’s deal with the actual problems in that regard!

    Apart from affecting people’s product choice,
    the actual switchover savings are not that great =
    less than 1% of overall energy use, and 1-2% grid electricity is
    saved, as shown by USA Dept of Energy’s own referenced statistics, and confirmed by other official information

    with alternative and more meaningful ways to save energy in
    electricity generation, grid distribution and consumption.
    (continued)

  10. peterdub permalink
    December 9, 2011

    there are several reasons the supposed energy savings don’t hold up, as also seen from DOE data

  11. Jesse permalink
    February 10, 2012

    These new light bulbs are a waste of money! They are much higher in price, they do NOT give off as much light, it is harder to see with them and they do NOT last any longer. In fact they may give out much earlier. We were gone for 2 weeks with lights on in the house of both kinds. When we returned half of the new kind of bulbs were burned out. JUST ANOTHER GOVERNMENT LIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Jessee permalink
    February 10, 2012

    That is what the government wants is for everything to be a toxic cleanup so they can have more and more control over your everyday lives. I am sick of all this environmental crap.

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