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Revised U.S. Light Bulb Standards Seek to Reduce Utility Bills and Cut Emissions

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Codes + Standards

Revised U.S. Light Bulb Standards Seek to Reduce Utility Bills and Cut Emissions

Recently announced lighting standards will limit the production and distribution of costly and inefficient bulbs


May 10, 2022
Person changing light bulb
Image: Stock.adobe.com

The Biden administration recently announced new light bulb efficiency standards that will phase out incandescent or halogen incandescent bulbs in favor of LEDs, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) reports. The initiative will reduce electric bills for millions of households and will cut down needless greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by 222 million metric tons over 30 years. 

The new rules require that bulbs produce at least 45 lumens per watt, and the standard also covers reflector bulbs used in recessed and track lighting, candle-shaped bulbs used for wall fixtures and other decorative light fixtures, and globe-shaped bulbs typically installed in bathrooms, all of which have LED options in most retail locations.

While sales of LEDs have increased rapidly, about 30% of light bulbs sold in the United States in 2020 were still incandescent or halogen incandescent bulbs, which turn most of the electrical energy they use into heat, not light. Most retailers have greatly expanded their LED options but continue to stock inefficient bulbs, which are often particularly prominent at dollar stores and convenience stores.

Each additional month that inefficient light bulbs are widely sold in the United States costs consumers nearly $300 million in needless energy bills and causes 800,000 tons of preventable carbon dioxide emissions over the short lifetime of the bulbs sold in that month.

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