As of January 1, the transition to more energy efficient lighting entered the next phase. As of this date, production of the 40 watt and 60 watt incandescent light bulb changed, due to federal energy efficiency requirements that came into place as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007(EISA). This law requires that standard 40 watt and 60 watt incandescent bulbs are 28 percent more efficient. So, what does this mean? These more energy efficient incandescent bulbs will only use 29 and 43 watts, respectively. Yet, as NEMA’s Kyle Pitsor shared in his recent blog post, they will provide the same level of light output (lumens), color, and features of the older bulbs.

From NEMA’s perspective the transition is already complete.  When EISA was passed in 2007, our members had no idea that the current enforcement rider would be enacted so they have already retooled their operations to accommodate the federal standard.  As a result, the newer more-efficient bulbs are already on store shelves next to the old bulbs.  For the immediate future the omnibus spending bill appears to maintain the status quo; incandescent bulbs are still subject to the efficiency standard and there is no funding for federal enforcement.  As the stock of older bulbs sells out over time, it’s likely that consumers won’t notice the change has happened as is the case with the 100- and 75-watt bulbs that transitioned over the last two years.

This transition is an evolution to more energy efficient technology; EISA does not ban incandescent light bulbs, just requires that they use less energy, which saves consumers more money. Granted, some angst is to be expected, as with any change, which is why consumers should become well-versed on what EISA does and does not require and what it means for them. After all, it is the law of the land now. Brad Plumer in a piece for the Washington Post did a great job in covering the transition to date, including efforts this week to repeal the efficiency standard. You can read his piece here: http://tiny.cc/mcbu9w.


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