This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.

BeyoNd Swirly Bulbs O

Federal regulations spur new lighting options By Megan McKoy-Noe, CCC

n hot summer evenings children love chas- ing fi refl ies, often catching them in jars. Then the real magic begins, as the inter- mittent glow captivates the captors. That same sense of wonder can be found in labs as scientists refine the process of making light- emitting diodes (LEDs)—highly-efficient light- bulbs comparable to a fi refl ies’ glow. LEDs have been commonly used as solitary sensor lights in electronics; now manufacturers are searching for economical ways to contain a colony of LEDs in a single lighting shell. Just as children attempt to gather enough fi refl ies to make a lamp, an LED “jar” would create enough light output (lumens) to match that of traditional incandescent bulbs. This research is part of national effort aimed at

redefi ning household lighting. Starting in January 2012, 100-watt (W) incandescent bulbs—a tech- nology developed in the United States by Thomas Edison in 1878 and largely untouched since—must become more energy effi cient.

Federal Mandate

Why is the government shining a light on—well, lighting? The U.S. Energy Information Adminis- tration (EIA) estimates we use 13.6 percent of our nation’s energy supply to keep the lights on, and a lot of that power is wasted. If you’ve ever touched a traditional lightbulb when it’s on, you realized much of the energy (90 percent) is released as heat (ouch!). This leaves a lot of room for improvement. To tackle this issue, Congress passed the Energy Information and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). By 2014 household lightbulbs using between 40-W to 100-W will need consume at least 28 percent less energy than traditional incandescents, saving Americans an estimated $6 billion to $10 billion

in light- annually. mandates

become 70 per-

Lightbulb technology hasn’t changed much since this bulb was produced in 1892-until now. Federal mandates call for manu- facturers to increase a 100-watt (W) bulb’s energy effi ciency by 28 percent in 2012. Photo source: Philips

ing costs The law also

lightbul bs cent more efficient

than classic bulbs by 2020 (LEDs already exceed this goal). “With shifting lighting options and consumers looking for every opportunity to save, navigating lighting solutions has never been so important,” declares David Schuellerman, GE Lighting’s public relations manager.

Look for Labels

Such a massive product change means consum- ers must switch from thinking about lightbulbs in terms of watts (amount of energy used) to lumens (amount of light produced).

“Lumens, not watts, tell you how bright a light bulb is, no matter the type of bulb,” explains Amy Hebert at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). “The more lumens, the brighter the light.” The consumer-focused agency has designed a “Lighting Facts” label and shopping guide that compares a bulb being purchased with traditional incandescent lightbulbs based on wattages and equivalent lumens. Beginning in 2012, labels on the front and back of lightbulb packages will em- phasize a bulb’s brightness in lumens, annual en- ergy cost, and expected lifespan.

Is this a Bulb Ban?

Contrary to popular belief, the federal Energy In- formation and Security Act of 2007 does not ban incandescent bulb technology; it requires bulbs use less energy.

“It’s equivalent to standards passed in the 1980s to make refrigerators more energy effi cient, and

we’re reaping those benefi ts,” remarks Brian Slo- boda with the Cooperative Research Network (CRN), a division of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade arm of local electric co-ops. “Refrigerators use less than one-third of the electricity today than they did in the mid-1970s, but consumers can’t tell a differ- ence in how their food is cooled. The premise is, why not do the same for lightbulbs?” EISA halts the manufacture of ineffi cient light- bulbs, but stores will not remove tried-and-true incandescent bulbs from shelves come New Year’s Day. Current inventory will still be available for sale until exhausted. And the improved effi ciency requirements only apply to screw-based lightbulbs; specialty bulbs for appliances, heavy-duty bulbs, colored lights, and three-way bulbs are exempt.

Explore Your Options

Once traditional incandescents go the way of the passenger pigeon, residential bulbs will largely fi t in three categories, each stacking up a bit differ-

ently: ✓ Halogen Incandescents: Use 25 percent less energy, last three times longer than regular incan-

descent bulbs ✓ Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs): Use 75

percent less energy, last up to 10 times longer ✓ LEDs: Use between 75 percent and 80 percent less energy, last up to 25 times longer “CFL, halogen, and LED technologies all offer energy savings, but at different intervals, and all with their own pros and cons,” says Schuellerman. For consumers comfortable with their old in-

candescent bulbs, halogen incandescents will be an easy fi rst-step. Featuring a capsule of halogen gas around the bulb’s fi lament, they’re available in


Thomas Edison is known as “the inventor” of the lightbulb

Incandescent Halogen GE Bulb

Photo sources: GE Lighting & Library of Congress

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80