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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

US Senate Bill to ban light bulbs introduced
Although it is wonderful to hear that the US Senate is legislating to phase out incandescent light bulbs, it is worrying that so many people are enthusiastic about halogen light bulbs and high efficiency incandescents as a transition technology.

Halogen lights
have the potential to offer significant energy efficiency improvements when compared to a single traditional incandescent light bulb (such as when you decide to light a desk with a 20W halogen rather than light a whole room with one or more 100W incandescents), but the sad truth is that halogen spotlights tend to be used in very large numbers to illuminate kitchens and offices to an extremely high level of brightness. As a result, halogens frequently end up greatly increasing the number of watts being used to light each m2 of a room.

High efficiency incandescents
offer a 30% energy saving when compared to incandescents, but offer much less than the 75% energy savings that are already possible with equivalent compact fluorescent lamp.

Ban The Bulb welcomes moves to phase out incandescents but thinks that the new minimum standard for energy performance should be technology neutral, but based on the energy savings that are already possible with compact fluorescent lamps, the total amount of energy used to light each m2, and trying to achieve the maximum possible energy savings within 5 years.

A bill has been introduced in the [US] Senate that will require manufacturers to phase out the old style light bulbs and replace them with new types that will give the same level of light and use less energy at the same time. It is estimated that changing to the new more efficient light bulbs will add up to a savings of $6 billion a year in electricity costs. The bill is called The Energy Efficient Lighting for a Brighter Tomorrow Act (S. 2017), it was introduced by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and has broad bi partisan support.

Senator Bingaman states that his bill will give the light bulb manufacturers a reasonable process for them to plan and implement the changes. He further states that we have had the same lighting technology for the past 125 years. When the bill is fully implemented, it will save almost as much energy as all of the Federal appliance standards from 1987 to 2000.

One of the original co-sponsors of the bill, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) commented on the fact that we have improved on just all of Thomas Edison's inventions, except for the light bulb. This legislation will encourage a new generation of talented inventors to improve on his greatest invention, the only one that has been neglected. He also stated his intention of working with Senator Bingaman to get the bill passed and making sure that the new products are made by Americans.

If the bill is passed into law, they will begin in 2012 and go on through 2014 with phasing out the current 40, 60, 75 and 100 watt incandescent bulbs and replace them by lower wattage bulbs that will be able to produce the same level of light.

By 2014, the bulbs that we have known all our lives will be obsolete. They will be replaced with the products of the new technologies such as LEDS-light emitting diodes-, halogen incandescent bulbs, compact florescent lamps and higher efficiency incandescent bulbs, giving the consumer plenty of different products to choose from.

In technical terms, the new standards for incandescent lighting will save 88 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year. And because you do replace light bulbs much more often than you do large appliances, the savings from the new bulbs will be realized much sooner than any savings from larger appliances. The new generation bulbs will cost more, but they will last for years, not months like the current ones do. As a result, there will be considerable savings in lighting costs over the long term.

They have already talked to and negotiated with major lighting manufacturers and efficiency advocates. Philips Lighting initiated the negotiations on phasing out inefficient incandescent lamps, and Osram Sylvania and General Electric were actively engaged in the process. Some of the advocates involved in the negotiations are the Alliance to Save Energy, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Senator Bingaman took a hands on approach and was personally involved in the negotiations at critical point along the way including having meetings with the key participants. The House of Representatives has already passed a similar bill. The House Bill was authored by Congressmen Harman and Upton.

Source: Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Thanks to Antony Froggatt for passing on this news article

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