On Tuesday, April 26, 2022, the US Department of Energy finalized a new efficiency rule aiming to phase out older, high-energy incandescent light bulbs. According to this rule, light bulbs must emit a minimum of 45 lumens per watt. Older light bulbs which don’t meet these standards will need to be phased out of production within 75 days, while full enforcement of the rule will go into effect in July 2023 – the same date when retailers must stop selling older-type bulbs.
This move is a culmination of a decades-long effort to phase out inefficient light bulbs. While energy efficiency standards were included in a bill passed under the George W. Bush administration and implemented during Barack Obama’s presidency, the Trump administration rolled the regulations back in 2019.
The Department of Energy estimates that implementing this new rule could save US consumers almost $3 billion and cut carbon emissions by 222 million metric tons over the next 30 years. Moreover, while traditional, incandescent light bulbs last only about 1,000 hours, energy efficient LED bulbs typically last 30,000 to 50,000 hours or even longer.
“By raising energy efficiency standards for light bulbs, we’re putting $3 billion back in the pockets of American consumers every year and substantially reducing domestic carbon emissions,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. “The lighting industry is already embracing more energy efficient products, and this measure will accelerate progress to deliver the best products to American consumers and build a better and brighter future.”
Environmental groups have also applauded the implementation of this new rule. “We are long overdue to phase out inefficient old-fashioned light bulbs as this progress was illegally delayed by the Trump administration for more than two years,” said Joe Vukovich, an energy efficiency advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “LED bulbs, which will replace the old incandescents, use one-sixth the amount of energy to deliver the same amount of light and last at least 10 times longer.”