California Adopts New Standards for More Efficient Lightbulbs

January 1, 2011

On January 1, California became the first state to implement a new federal law improving energy efficiency standards for lightbulbs. The state now requires that any 100-watt bulb manufactured after January 1 and sold in the state must use 28% less energy than the old incandescent bulbs. At the same time, the new 72-watt replacement bulbs must provide the same amount of light, or lumens. The California Energy Commission (CEC) said that the Golden State was given authority to implement the national standards one year earlier than other states to avoid the sale of 10.5 million inefficient 100-watt bulbs in 2011. Those bulbs would cost consumers an estimated $35.6 million in higher electricity bills, the CEC said.

The higher standard, created by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, will take effect in the rest of the country on January 1, 2012. The law is designed to reduce U.S. energy use and pollution while cutting down on foreign sources of energy. The new standard is technology neutral and allows consumers to choose among a variety of high-performance products for replacement. Additionally, the standard does not affect the existing supply of incandescent lightbulbs stocked in retail stores or already in use. See the CEC press release and the frequently asked questions section on the CEC Web site.