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California First State to Adopt National Efficiency Standard for Light Bulbs

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By Mark Glover

RISMEDIA, January 6, 2011—(MCT)—Californians will see the light—and a resulting energy cost savings—earlier than the rest of the United States.  The California Energy Commission says Golden State consumers will be the first in the nation to save money under a federal law improving the energy-efficiency standard of light bulbs.

The standard outlined in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 says that a 100-watt bulb manufactured on or after a set date must use 28% less energy than a traditional 100-watt incandescent light bulb. In effect, the bulb cannot use more than 72 watts.

The federal law set adoption of the standard on Jan. 1, 2012, but California was given authority to implement it one year earlier to avoid sales of 10.5 million comparatively inefficient 100-watt bulbs in 2011. The estimated cost savings to consumers for that alone is $35.6 million.

“This is in keeping with the traditional role of California being a leader in energy efficiency,” said energy commission spokesman Adam Gottlieb. “After 132 years, we’re giving Thomas Edison a makeover.”

The commission said current bulb technology—halogen, compact fluorescent or light-emitting diode bulbs—enables a bulb of 72 watts or less to provide the same amount of light as a traditional 100-watt incandescent bulb, while using less power and costing less to illuminate. And the modern bulbs last longer.

The primary energy loss from older-generation bulbs was from generated heat.

Gottlieb said California welcomed the opportunity to get an early start on high-tech bulbs. He said California energy standards on everything from appliances to home-building requirements have kept “per-capita electricity use in California absolutely flat for 32 years while the rest of the nation has seen a 40 percent increase during that time.”

The energy commission said the law does not apply to existing supplies of incandescent bulbs in retail stores or already in use.

“This is not a ban. Based on sufficient stockpiles, there will be incandescent light bulbs available for a good part of the year,” Gottlieb said. “…But when you look at how smart consumers are, especially in a tight budget situation, saving money using smart lighting just makes sense.”

(c) 2011, The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.).

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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