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New Lighting Standards Begin in 2012

July 29, 2012 - 7:58pm


New Lighting Standards Begin in 2012

Beginning in 2012, common lightbulbs sold in the United States will typically use about 25%-80% less energy. Many bulbs meet these new standards, including energy-saving incandescents, CFLs, and LEDs, and are already available for purchase. The newer bulbs provide a wide range of choices in color and brightness, and many of them last much longer than traditional lightbulbs. The lighting standards, which phase in from 2012-2014, do not ban incandescent or any specific bulb type; they say that bulbs need to use about 25% less energy. The bipartisan Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007) established these efficiency standards.

The new energy-saving lightbulbs -- incandescents, CFLs, and LEDs -- are available today and could save you about $50 per year when you replace 15 traditional incandescent bulbs in your home.

Measuring Light in Lumens

The new efficiency standards require lightbulbs to consume less electricity (watts) for the amount of light produced (lumens). The traditional, inefficient incandescent 100 watt (W) bulbs will give way to choices -- including newer incandescent bulbs -- that use only 72 W or less to provide you a comparable amount of light (lumens). If you are replacing a 100W bulb, a good rule of thumb is to look for a bulb that gives you about 1600 lumens. Your new bulb should provide that level of brightness for no more than 72W, cutting your energy bill. Learn more about lumens.

As of January 1, 2012, traditional, inefficient 100W incandescent lightbulbs do not meet the standards and are no longer available at most stores.* However, you have many other options that will save you money.

Similar standards will phase in for other types of lightbulbs over the next three years. Traditional 75W incandescent lightbulbs will no longer be available as of January 1, 2013. Traditional 40W and 60W incandescent lightbulbs will no longer be available as of January 1, 2014.**

New Lighting Standards Will Save You Money

The savings can add up. Upgrading 15 inefficient incandescent bulbs in your home could save you about $50 per year. Since most of the bulbs also have longer life spans, you'll continue to save into the future. Nationwide, lighting accounts for about 10% of home electricity use. With new EISA standards, U.S. households could save nearly $6 billion dollars in 2015 alone.

Various specialty lightbulbs, such as appliance, heavy-duty, colored, and three-way bulbs, are exempt from the new standards.

See our Frequently Asked Questions for the specific related language in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007).

Learn More

* The EISA 2007 act specifically limits the import or manufacture of inefficient bulbs. Stores will be able to sell remaining inventory.
** In California, the new lighting standards take effect on January 1, 2011, 2012, and 2013 respectively.