Who Are This Year’s Innovators Tackling Climate Change and Promoting Energy Efficiency?

The 2014 winners of the Presidential Green Chemistry Awards have done it again. These scientists are helping to crack the code and solve some of the most challenging problems facing our modern society. They are turning climate risk and other problems into a business opportunity, spurring innovation and investment. They are reducing waste – energy, chemicals and water waste – while cutting manufacturing costs, and sparking investments.
Take a look at some of this year’s promising innovations:

New Bus Fuel Could Reduce Greenhouse Gases by 82%. Making and burning this new fuel could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to petroleum diesel. Amyris (in California) has engineered a yeast to make a renewable fuel replacement for petroleum diesel. Since carbon pollution increases our costs in health care and other impacts, this technology could save tens of thousands of dollars each year.

New LED Lighting Material Could Save you 36% on Energy Bills. If QD Vision, Inc’s (in Massachusetts) technology were used in just 10% of flat-screen TVs, we could save 600 million kilowatt-hours worldwide every year – enough to provide electricity for 50,000 homes for one year! Even better, producing these materials avoids the need for about 40,000 gallons of solvents per year. This technology brings massive energy savings and is good for the planet, with reduced carbon emissions, heavy metals emissions, and less use of toxic chemicals.

New Safer Firefighting foam. This new foam doesn’t contain persistent toxic chemicals that can accumulate in our blood and that of animals. The Solberg Company (in Wisconsin) used surfactants and sugars that can fight fires more effectively than before. One of the world’s largest oil and gas companies will use it to fight fuel fires and spills. The product works better and is safer – a win-win for industry and for protecting our health and the environment.

Making Pills While Reducing Chemicals and Waste. The manufacturing process for pills can create toxic waste. Professor Shannon S. Stahl at the University of Wisconsin has discovered a way to safely use oxygen instead of hazardous chemicals in a step commonly used while making medicine. If brought to market, these methods could have a big impact on the industry, reducing chemicals, reducing waste, and saving companies time and money.

Making Soaps, Laundry Detergents, Food Products, and Fuels While Reducing Energy and Water Use, Waste, and Impacts on Forests. These everyday products can now be produced with much less energy, water, and waste, thus saving money. Solazyme, Inc. (in California) has developed novel oils from sugar and engineered algae in a way that significantly reduces the environmental effects that typically occur in producing and processing some oils. Also, the company’s palm-oil equivalent can help reduce deforestation and greenhouse gases that can occur from cultivation of palm oil.

As you can see, the Presidential Green Chemistry Award winners are solving real-world problems through scientific innovations. These prestigious awards are challenging American researchers and innovators to use their talent to improve our health, environment, and the economy.

During the 19 years of EPA’s Green Chemistry program, we have received more than 1,500 nominations and presented awards to 98 technologies. Winning technologies are responsible for annually reducing the use or generation of more than 826 million pounds of hazardous chemicals, saving 21 billion gallons of water, and eliminating 7.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent releases to air.

An independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute formally judged the 2014 submissions from among scores of nominated technologies and made recommendations to EPA for the 2014 winners. The 2014 awards event will be held in conjunction with an industry partners’ roundtable.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

ENERGY STAR LED Bulbs: The “Bright” Choice

By: Taylor Jantz-Sell

Just like early CFLs, LED technology has its challenges, in particular suffering from limitations affecting brightness and light distribution. The truth is, not all LED lighting is created equal. Bad design can lead to a wide range of problems, some immediately observable and some not. Poorly designed products often come with exaggerated claims, while failing to deliver on quality.

To earn the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR label, LED bulbs must overcome these challenges and demonstrate they can meet consumer expectations, delivering on must-haves like brightness, color quality and the ability to produce light in all directions.

So what does it take for an LED bulb to earn the ENERGY STAR?

  • Light Distribution – If you are looking for an LED bulb to replace a traditional incandescent bulb, for example a 60W, be sure to look for an ENERGY STAR certified “A” type 60W replacement. ENERGY STAR certification on these LED bulbs means they put out the same amount of light (about 800 lumens) and shine light in all directions, just like an incandescent bulb. A non-certified LED ”A” bulb or a “non-standard” type LED bulb may look like your old bulbs but only shine light in a limited range.

LED directionalThe LED bulb on the left shines light directly up, which would make it hard to read a book. The ENERGY STAR LED bulb on the right shines light in every direction, which is what most consumers expect.

  • Color Quality – ENERGY STAR certified LED lighting products have to meet strict color performance measures, proving they can deliver high-quality, consistent color up front and over time. They meet six different color requirements, covering everything from color consistency and uniformity to color fidelity and even a requirement to make sure skin tones and reds appear natural. You can find ENERGY STAR certified lighting in a variety of light colors that meet the mood or look for your space.

LED color

  • Brightness – ENERGY STAR minimum light output requirements ensure you will get the right amount of light for the replacement claim. Light output is measured in lumens, so a bulb needs to produce a minimum of 800 lumens to make a 60W replacement claim. LED lighting products that earn the ENERGY STAR must pass tests to prove they will provide the right amount of light up front and over time. Poorly made LED products won’t provide enough light, and their light output can quickly degrade with time and heat.

And remember, only ENERGY STAR LED bulbs are certified by independent, third parties against a long list of rigorous performance requirements. For more information on ENERGY STAR LED lighting, visit www.energystar.gov/led.

About the author: As lighting program manager for the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, Ms. Jantz-Sell works with leading manufacturers, retailers and efficiency programs to promote and advance the adoption of ENERGY STAR certified lighting products. Ms. Jantz-Sell leads the development of voluntary performance requirements for energy efficient lighting products and develops education materials and tools to aid consumers in understanding energy efficient lighting.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

The Amazing LED

Danny Orlando LED

Danny Orlando LED 2

By: Danny Orlando

It’s amazing how many light fixtures we have in our homes.  According to a December 2012 Residential End-Use Consumption Study by the Department of Energy, U. S. homes range from 50-80 light fixtures.  Changing all of those lights to LED technology is a daunting and expensive undertaking, but it is a worthwhile effort.  Here is why:

LED lighting prices are coming down and are now usually between $10 and $25 dollars each.   And, in some locations there are utility incentives that drive down the price even lower.  Switching over to ENERGY STAR certified LEDs is best achieved one lamp at a time.  One tactic is to buy one light per month and before you know it, you’ve achieved your goal!

You should look for ENERGY STAR certified LED lights because these have been tested by a third-party to assure they meet a range of quality criteria.  Also, pay close attention to the color temperature of the light that you are choosing.  The color temperature is listed on the ‘nutrition’ label on the package.  If you want the familiar glow of an incandescent, look for a color temperature at or below 3000 K. The good news is that everything you need to know is right on the package.

I’m an avowed energy nerd, so I’ve actually counted the light fixtures in my home. My home has 37 light fixtures and seven track light fixtures.  Since I work in the field of energy efficiency, I am an early adopter and have changed 83 percent of the fixtures to LED lights.  I have been able to find LEDs for every variety of fixtures.  One interesting usage is in my stove hood which uses a Par20 lamp.  Usually, this would be a poor location for LEDs because of the hot stove surface as heat is the enemy of LEDs.   But, so far, the LED lamps have lasted for years.

Track light fixtures that use four 50-watt lights (MR-16) are not an energy efficient choice for lighting, but mine are rarely used, and the ones that are used more frequently are controlled by occupancy sensors.  There is one track, however, that is on eight hours each day.  On a recent trip to the home improvement store, I found LED replacement lamps for this fixture, but they were $30 each.  To retrofit this fixture would cost more than the fixture itself, so I returned home empty handed.  But, then I decided to perform the calculations and see if purchasing the LED replacement lamps would make sense.  The results were astounding.  Because of the amount of hours this fixture is on, the payback was about two years and I would save 550 kilowatt-hours each year!  To state that another way, four LED lights eliminated my November electricity bill – forever.  Needless to say, I returned to the store and made the purchase.   I have a few more steps to take to be completely LED, but I only have four fluorescents left to replace.  Although utility costs in my area have increased 60 percent in the last 20 years, my costs have increased only one percent because of consistent energy efficient choices!

It’s amazing to realize we are at a time when our children won’t know what changing a light bulb means.  My kids asked me, “How long do LEDs last?”   And I answered, “I’ll put them in my will for you”.  Now, if you move to a new home, not only will you take your furniture, refrigerator, and clothes, but you’ll also pack up your amazing LED lights.

About the Author: Danny Orlando is the Regional Energy Star Program manager in EPA’s Atlanta office and has been promoting and implementing Energy Star both at work and at home for 21 years.

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

The ENERGY STAR LED Bulb Challenge

LED bulb challenge

By: Brittney Gordon-Williams

Did you know that nearly 70 percent of sockets in the U.S. still contain an inefficient light bulb? It may be hard to believe, but that stat proves that for the majority of consumers across the country, the message about using energy efficient lighting has yet to sink in. The upside is that there is a huge potential for energy savings that has yet to be tapped. The U.S. EPA is working to tap that potential and is hopeful that ENERGY STAR certified LEDs will be the centerpiece of a dramatic change in the lighting market.

Last Earth Day, EPA issued a bold challenge to its partners: Sell 20 million ENERGY STAR certified LEDs by Earth Day 2014, and help show your customers how to save energy, save money and prevent climate change with their lighting choices. Retailers from across the country joined in, including Ace Hardware, Best Buy, Costco, Lowe’s and The Home Depot.

They took the charge and have made educating their customers about the benefits of ENERGY STAR certified LEDs a priority in their stores across the nation. And these retailers are stocking and promoting ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs for a reason–only bulbs with the ENERGY STAR are independently certified, undergoing extensive testing to assure they perform as promised, overcoming the traditional challenges associated with LED lighting.

The combination of high quality and rapidly declining prices (as low as $5 a bulb in some stores) has led to over 10 million bulbs being sold so far in the challenge, and momentum is gaining as we approach the Earth Day 2014 culmination.

So, have you tried an ENERGY STAR certified LED in your home yet? Here are the top seven reasons now is the time.

1.)    Energy Savings: ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs use 70-90% less energy than a standard incandescent bulb.

2.)    Money Savings: A single ENERGY STAR certified LED can save more than $135 in electricity costs over its lifetime.

3.)    Affordability: The prices for ENERGY STAR certified LEDs are dropping big time—as low as $5 per bulb with in-store rebates.

4.)    Long Lasting: ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs now look and light more like traditional bulbs, but can last 25 times longer—over 20 years total with typical use.

5.)    Quality and Performance: An ENERGY STAR certified bulb will give you the best LED experience. Only bulbs with the ENERGY STAR are independently certified, undergoing extensive testing to assure that they perform as promised.  To earn the ENERGY STAR, these bulbs must demonstrate that they will meet consumer expectations by delivering on brightness and producing light in all directions.

6.)    Peace of Mind: ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs carry a three-year warranty.

7.)    Environmental Protection: By replacing 20 million traditional incandescent bulbs with ENERGY STAR certified LEDs, this country would save more than $118 million each year in energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of more than 150,000 vehicles.

Believe it or not, most people spend more to light their home than to operate their refrigerator, dishwasher, and laundry equipment combined! That little fact should make it pretty clear why your lighting choices matter. Try an ENERGY STAR certified LED today, and tell us about your experience on our website. We will showcase your stories on ENERGY STAR’s Facebook and Twitter pages this spring.

Brittney Gordon-Williams is a member of the ENERGY STAR communications team. 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Next-Generation Energy Efficient TV Technology is Here

OLED TV

OLED TV

By John Taylor

With football season moving into high gear, lots of us are thinking about the ultimate TV viewing experience. There are many factors to consider when looking for the perfect TV, and with today’s technology it’s possible to have it all – high picture quality and design as well as energy efficiency.

For those of you who are early adopters, you may be wondering about one of the newest TVs on the market – the OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TV.

OLED TV is the next generation in television technology, representing the most significant change in display technology since the introduction of flat-panel TVs. The TVs are ultra-thin and light weight and produce superb picture quality.

Sound’s great? It gets better.

OLED TVs mean that you don’t have to sacrifice performance and style for energy efficiency.

Although “LED” stands for “light-emitting diode” in both cases, the design of each TV is actually quite different. LED TVs simply use an array of LEDs as the backlight for an otherwise traditional LCD (liquid crystal display) TV, shining through a screen of LCD pixels. With OLED TVs, the organic layer creates its own light source for each pixel. As a result, OLED’s improvement over LED’s color, clarity and contrast ratios is quite dramatic. And even with this leapfrogging display technology, OLED TVs can be energy efficient, too.

The first ENERGY STAR certified OLED TV — the new “Curved OLED TV” from LG Electronics — went on sale in July. Among its energy-saving features is the “Smart Energy Saving” mode, which includes a sensor that automatically adjusts the display brightness according to the viewing environment. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s “Energy Guide” label, the TV has an estimated yearly energy cost of only $18.*

To learn more about the first ENERGY STAR certified OLED TV, visit lg.com/us/oled/.

* The FTC’s calculations are based on 11 cents per kWh and 5 hours use per day. Your cost depends on your utility rates and use. Visit ftc.gov/energy.

John Taylor is vice president of public affairs and communications for LG Electronics USA.  

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Bright Idea for 2013? ENERGY STAR Certified Lighting!

By: Monique O’Grady, the Alliance to Save Energy

When we popped open the corks at the stroke of midnight at our house to welcome 2013, we did it under ENERGY STAR certified lighting: CFLs in the recessed fixtures, LEDs in the pendants, and LED holiday lights on the mantle.

Watching the iconic ball drop over Times Square on TV is a New Year’s Eve tradition at the O’Grady’s that was made even more special a year ago when I had an opportunity to look at the energy-saving wonder up close. I accompanied the President of the Alliance to Save Energy, Kateri Callahan, and Philips Lighting’s Ed Crawford, as they were interviewed about the 32,000 LEDs in the world-famous ball and the benefits of switching to energy-saving lighting.  The cutting-edge technology shone brightly under pristine crystal, while saving about 80% of the energy used by the original globe’s incandescents. The result? The 12-foot globe that now ushers in the New Year with a colorful light show uses only the energy of two wall ovens.

But you don’t have to be in Times Square during the extravaganza that rings in the New Year to know that saving energy can also work on a smaller scale.

Buying Bulbs, Saving for Our Future
This year’s holiday electric bill will probably be a belated gift.  This Department of Energy stat shows why: the estimated electricity cost to light a 6-foot tree with C-9 incandescent light strands  will add $10.00 to an energy bill during a 40-day holiday season. But, by using C-9 LED strands, the cost is just 27 cents.  I used three LED strands on my tree, but I also changed out an additional seven strands for other decorating needs. That should make a noticeable difference.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), if every decorative light string purchased in the United States this year earned the ENERGY STAR, we would:

  • Prevent 900 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to the emissions from about 80,000 cars.
  • Save more than 600 million kWh of electricity.
  • Save about $65 million in annual energy costs.

A recent estimate by the Department of Energy shows that by 2030, the energy savings from increased use of LED lights will reach $30 billion a year. In 2013 we expect to see more LED options on the market and prices continuing to drop.  And 2013 also promises some of the first 100-watt LED equivalents – another gift that keeps on giving!  Look for the ENERGY STAR on these bulbs to ensure they have passed all the rigorous tests required by the EPA’s strict ENERGY STAR requirements.

Initially these 100-watt LED equivalents will be pricy — about $50 a bulb — but one manufacturer estimates each bulb will save $220 in energy costs over its 25,000-hour lifespan (or more than 20 years).  If you want to learn more about energy-saving light bulbs go to ENERGYSTAR.gov. You can also check the Alliance to Save Energy YouTube series for ways to be energy efficient all year long. Here is your first tip–start by looking for the ENERGY STAR label!

Monique O’Grady is the Vice President of Communications for the Alliance to Save Energy and helps chair the mass media subcommittee of the LUMEN Coalition, an ad-hoc group of organizations and professionals united to educate consumers about energy-efficient lighting choices. Monique also hosts an Alliance to Save Energy video series on energy efficiency tips, including six videos on energy-efficient lighting.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

LightFair 2012: The Future of Lighting is Bright and Lighter on the Planet

LightFair

Taylor Jantz-Sell and Tanya Hernandez

By: Taylor Jantz-Sell

When I started working for ENERGY STAR five years ago, I had no idea I’d turn into the lighting nerd I am today. You know you’ve turned when you start evaluating the lighting wherever you go.  Back then, CFLs were just getting past all the early hurdles, and LEDs seemed far off.  Fast forward a few years, and it is amazing how things have improved. While CFLs have always been a no-brainer for efficiency, they weren’t always meeting people’s expectations. Now, with improved starting, appearance, and a selection of dimming models, there is an ENERGY STAR certified CFL to meet almost every need. And what was once the expensive and far-off possibility of LED lighting is now becoming a viable option for general purpose lighting needs. LED light bulb efficiency is on track to surpass CFLs, and with the help of ENERGY STAR, performance and quality have come a long way. Even as improvements are made, cost is dropping.

Every spring, I attend LightFair International– the premier lighting convention in the U.S. — where the latest and greatest in lighting is announced and displayed (and probably one of the few shows where people wear sunglasses indoors). I just returned from this year’s conference, and it is clear that LED lighting is the future.

I remember the first year that LED lighting really showed up at LightFair back in 2010. That year, everyone had to have some kind of LED product on display; I can only imagine the mad rush of manufacturing prototypes in preparation for the show. If you didn’t have “LED” in your booth at Light Fair you were surely to be left behind. Two years later it’s hard to find products at the show that aren’t LED. The exciting thing is that it’s not just a cool new lighting technology; it’s a cool new technology that can really take a bite out of our energy use.

Lighting accounts for 12-30 percent of energy use in the U.S. To put this into perspective, in a home that 12 percent is more energy than your refrigerator, dishwasher, and clothes washer uses combined! In a commercial building, that 30 percent is on par with what the air conditioning system uses.

What is really exciting is that ENERGY STAR has had a major impact on this market. Meeting ENERGY STAR performance and quality requirements is top of mind for anyone developing a new lighting product. What came across throughout the show was loud and clear: ENERGY STAR has set the bar for high quality, LED light bulbs and fixtures. It’s nice to see that ENERGY STAR is leading us all into a brighter future with advanced lighting that is “light” on environmental impact.

Taylor Jantz-Sell has supported ENERGY STAR lighting in various roles over the years, from working on the Change a Light Campaign, to product qualification, marketing, utility program support and consumer education. If you want to geek out on lighting she’s always up for it.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.