Mar 3, 2009
How much energy could be saved by more efficient lighting? If you're among the millions of Americans who switched to CFLs, you've seen the difference in your electricity bill. But how much energy could be saved with better federal efficiency standards? The numbers are staggering -- a higher standard for just two kinds of bulbs found in offices and homes could save 15.8 quadrillion BTUs of energy by 2048. A quadrillion is one thousand million million -- that's 15 zeros.
The Department of Energy has proposed new standards for fluorescent tube lamps, including the four-foot-long bulbs found in millions of office light fixtures, and incandescent reflector lamps, the common cone-shaped light bulbs used in "recessed can" light fixtures and track lighting. But the standards don't go far enough -- this is largest potential energy savings of any appliance standard in history at a time when we need it the most.
Slightly higher standards than the ones proposed could save an additional 6.2 quadrillion BTUs of energy and save consumers $25.6 billion dollars by 2048. And any reduction in energy use reduces emissions of CO2, NOx and mercury, in this case by 290 million metric tons, 461 kilotons and 2.4 tons, respectively.
Tell the Energy Department to save money and energy by strengthening lighting efficiency standards. The Obama Administration will review the Bush Administration's decision before the final rule is issued in June, now is the time to demand better efficiency standards. Learn more about the proposed standards on NRDC Energy Policy Analyst Lane Burt's blog.
Many Americans have already done their part by switching to more efficient lighting at home, tossing out incandescent bulbs and replacing them with CFLs. Now it's time for the government to make sure the lighting industry is making the best, most efficient products for all consumers.
Take a look at the lighting in your office and home and see if you're using these older, inefficient bulbs. BR type bulbs, with a slight bulge designed to focus light where needed, are exempt from efficiency standards. You might find these bulbs in recessed ceiling lights or outdoor spotlights. The truth is CFLs work well in these sockets and you don't need these specialty lights wasting your money. Not all fluorescent tube lamps are efficient, older T12 bulbs use much more energy than T8 or T5 bulbs. Its easy to tell, T12s have a diameter of 1.5 inches (12/8), while T8 are an inch around and T5s are 5/8s of an inch around.
Tell the Energy Department to save money and energy by strengthening lighting efficiency standards.
- Take a look at the lighting in your office and home and see if you're using older, inefficient bulbs. BR type bulbs, with a slight bulge designed to focus light where needed, are exempt from efficiency standards.
- After you've replaced incandescent bulbs with CFLs in your home and office, consider replacing older specialty lighting with new lamps. You don't even have to remove the old fixtures, just add another, more efficient light source.
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