Friday, March 18, 2011

Let there be (more energy efficient) light!

For those of you who follow Washington politics, a somewhat frightening change is afoot. Just under 4 years ago Congress passed a law requiring more efficient lightbulbs as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007- kind of like Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for automobiles, but for lightbulbs. Specifically, the act called for roughly 25 percent greater efficiency for light bulbs, phased in from 2012 through 2014.

Republicans in Congress are trying to repeal it. Senator Mike Enzi (R) from Wyoming is pushing a bill to repeal law and give consumers the choice to buy any light bulbs they want. He is joined by 27 Republican Senators.

Enzi claims, "Government doesn't need to be in the business of telling people what light bulb they have to use. If left alone, the best bulb will win its rightful standing in the marketplace."

While I generally applaud choice in the market, I think we can safely say that companies will not produce more energy efficient ANYTHING withough a little regulatory push. To use the lightbulb example, it has only been in the last few years that the flouresent lightbulb has even become a viable option. Before then, we depended on incandescent bulbs - the same technology invented in 1879. That's 114 years of relatively minor improvements in energy efficiency.

Enzi's bill, and related measures in the House, "would push aside innovation, derail plans for new job-creating lighting factories and eliminate an estimated $10 billion in annual energy costs savings – taking as much as $200 per year out of the checkbooks of every U.S. household," said Bob Keefe, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group that backs the 2007 law.


Seattle Architect said...

I completely agree. Consumers who want to find an incandescent bulb can go to an antique shop. We need to move forward and invest in more sustainable technologies.

Seattle Architects Coates Design specializes in green building and sustainable design.

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Lighting Wizard Tips said...

Well, there goes the 100 watt bulb for my Easy Bake Oven.

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