DOE Announces Plans for Consumer Education Campaign on Lighting Changes

July 21, 2010

DOE announced plans today for a new consumer education initiative that will be timed to the upcoming changes in light bulb regulation. The initiative will provide greater awareness of the overall benefits of the legislative changes and new, “greener” technologies, such as LEDs and CFLs.

Joining DOE at the Solid-State Lighting (SSL) Market Introduction Workshop in Philadelphia for today’s announcement were representatives from GE, Philips, Cree, and Osram Sylvania, as well as major retailers including The Home Depot, Costco Wholesale and Grainger. These partners are already on board to work with DOE in this effort, and we anticipate that many more will follow their lead.

Millions of people will start paying a lot more attention to the common light bulb in the coming months, thanks to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). That’s because the incandescent light bulbs we’ve relied on for over a century will have to become much more efficient to comply with EISA’s new performance levels, which will be introduced on a staggered basis beginning in 2012 with the phase-out of the popular 100W incandescent lamp, followed by the 75W, 60W, and 40W bulbs phased over two years. The end result will point consumers towards more efficient lighting alternatives, such as CFLs and LEDs. These performance levels will be superseded by an even more stringent set that take effect in 2020 – effectively leading the lighting industry in the direction of innovative and high-quality products that are increasingly more energy-efficient.

The ultimate effect of phasing out inefficient light sources will be significant national energy savings and a shrunken carbon footprint. However, without an effective consumer education process, these new performance levels could cause considerable confusion. Since most people are used to selecting light bulbs on the basis of their wattage – which, for efficient technologies like SSL is not an accurate indication of light output – DOE is prepared to team with the lighting industry and its market channels to increase consumer understanding of “lumens,” the common term for light output, and the added value of newer lighting technologies.

More details on the new consumer education initiative will emerge in the coming months as planning evolves. DOE expects to formally launch the new initiative this Fall.