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CO - OP LIVI NG


The Speed of Light(ing) Co-ops help blaze trails for effi cient lighting technology


By Megan McKoy-Noe, CCC A


fter maintaining a steady pace for a cen- tury, lighting technology has begun to leap forward, fueled by tightening ener-


gy effi ciency standards and hefty incentives for manufacturers. And despite a bit of price shock on some lighting products, co-op members—espe- cially large commercial and industrial accounts— are working with their local, not-for-profi t, con- sumer-owned power providers to see if emerging lighting options can curb rising costs.


Shifting standards Congress fi rst enacted improved energy effi ciency standards for incandescent bulbs under the federal Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. But when new lightbulb rules began to take effect in


2012, they were met with confusion.


Under the law, by 2014, lightbulbs using between 40-W to 100-W must consume at least 28 percent less energy than traditional incandescents, which will save Americans an estimated $6 billion to $10 billion in lighting costs annually. The measure also mandates that lightbulbs become 70 percent more effi cient by 2020.


In June of this year, the U.S. House passed an amendment to stop enforcement of these standards, mirroring a funding freeze for enforcement efforts adopted in late 2011. Yet even if the provision be- comes law, very little will change. Congress has not repealed or adjusted existing lightbulb efficiency standards or changed the timeline for implementa- tion. Major lighting manufacturers like General Elec- tric, Philips, and Osram Sylvania continue working to comply with the 2007 law.


‘Solid’ lighting Incandescent bulbs create light using a thin wire


(fi lament) inside a glass bulb—a delicate connection that can easily be broken, as frustrated homeowners can attest. In contrast, LEDs are at the forefront of solid-state lighting—small, packed electronic chip de- vices. Two conductive materials are placed together on a chip (a diode). Electricity passes through the di- ode, releasing energy in the form of light. Invented in 1960 by General Electric, the fi rst LEDs


If viewing our digital edition, click here for a video on some tests done with LED lamps at agricultural sites in Oklahoma. Access our digital edition at


www.ok-living.coop or fi nd our FREE app at the Apple Newsstand.


As the next wave of standards kicks in, traditional 75-W incandescent lightbulbs will no longer be avail- able as of January 1, 2013, and 40-W and 60-W ver- sions will no longer be available as of January 1, 2014. In the race to fi ll the nation’s growing need for effi - cient lighting comes a new breed of illuminators, led by light-emitting diodes (LEDs).


8 OKLAHOMA LIVING


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