What you need to know about new light bulb guidelines
Starting in January 2012, any 100-watt bulb a consumer purchases must use 30 percent less energy than today’s conventional incandescent, regardless of light bulb type.
According to the Energy Star website, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires that all light bulbs use 30 percent less energy than today’s incandescent bulbs.
Other bulb types, such as 40-watt bulbs, will have to comply with the same 30-percent reduced energy use guidelines by January 2014.
Lighting accounts for up to 12 percent of the average American home’s annual energy bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. With the Energy Independence act, the DOE estimates the nation’s electric bill could be reduced by nearly $6 billion by 2015.
But not all light bulbs are covered by the new law. While the most common forms of residential lighting will fall under the new law’s requirements, many specialized bulb types that consumers may purchase can continue to rely on conventional incandescent bulbs.
There are many types of incandescent bulb applications that are exempt from this law:
- specialty lights such as those in appliances like refrigerators
- 3-way bulbs
- rough service, vibration service and shatter resistant bulbs
- colored bulbs, such as party lights
- bug lights
When purchasing new energy efficient light bulbs such as compact fluorescents (CFLs), look for bulbs that carry the Energy Star-qualified logo. These bulbs have been certified by the Energy Star program and carry a two-year minimum warranty for residential applications.
The DOE recommends that homeowners replace their conventional incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving models such as CFLs to start seeing energy savings immediately. Instead of replacing and tossing out old incandescent bulbs that still work, try switching them in less frequently used locations such as guest rooms or closets.
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