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Light Bulbs, a Key Factor in National Energy Savings

Improved light bulbs have led to huge decreases in residential energy use. Changes to federal standards, however, will likely stymie future progress.
March 16, 2019, 9am PDT | Camille Fink
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Nadja Popovich writes about the evolution of light bulbs and their contribution to decreases in U.S. energy use. Incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescent bulbs are being replaced with LED bulbs, which use up to 85 percent less energy than older bulbs and can last for 25 years.

In 2012, new efficiency standards for light bulbs kicked in, requiring that new bulbs use 28 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. "The switch to more efficient lighting has been relatively rapid, Dr. [Lucas] Davis said, because of the short lifespan of traditional light bulbs," notes Popovich.

But industry group are fighting additional regulations set to start next year that prohibit the sale of light bulbs that give off less than 45 lumens per watt. In addition, the Department of Energy announced last month that it was rolling back regulations that would have made decorative bulbs subject to the same standards.

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Published on Friday, March 8, 2019 in The New York Times
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