It’s Lights Out to Old Bulbs

July 13, 2011

Despite opposition, America’s lighting is going greener. You might oppose too, but you’ll soon have no choice: You’re going to have to save money on your electric bills.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday on the Better Use of Light Bulbs (BULB) Act, which would have repealed a law mandating more energy-efficient light bulbs.

The Republican-heavy House actually voted 233-193 in favor of the BULB Act, but the group needed a two-thirds majority, or 285 yea votes, to pass.

The new standards will now move forward and those old incandescent light bulbs will be phased out by 2014.

Starting next year, all new bulbs must be at least 27 percent more energy efficient than standard incandescent ones. By 2020, most light bulbs will be required to use 60 to 70 percent less energy.

old bulb with soil and a plant growing inside.When those final standards go into effect, the White House estimates that Americans will save more than $12.5 billion in energy costs each year.

Opponents say the energy-efficient bulbs are too expensive and that the government shouldn’t dictate what light bulbs Americans must buy.

The fact is, energy efficiency is the way to go, especially in your home. Once the standards are fully in place, an average homeowner will save an estimated $85 per year just by replacing those energy-guzzling light bulbs.

Now, doesn’t that just make sense?

“The average U.S. household would save about 7 percent on their annual electric costs — or roughly one-twelfth,” said Andrew deLaski, executive director for the Appliance Standards Awareness Program (ASAP).

“In other words, the savings from the lighting standards would be like getting a free month without a power bill, every single year.”

ASAP and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently calculated the amount of potential savings each state could see from the use of more efficient light bulbs.

The data shows that, once the final standards are in place, the state of Illinois stands to save $433 million on energy costs each year. Only five states posted a higher amount of savings than that.

Manufacturing more energy-efficient light bulbs would also eliminate the need for 33 large power plants, which are huge pollutants to our already fragile environment.

By the way, the new law does not ban incandescent bulbs, it just forces them — and homeowners — to be more energy efficient.

The new standards will take effect in January.

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