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January 8th, 2014

Final Phase-In of New Federal Lighting Standards Starts in 2014



On Jan. 1, 2014, retailers and manufacturers may no longer order or produce 60 watt and 40 watt incandescent light bulbs, as the last phase of new federal lighting standards begins. “What this means for our customers is that those who have not already transitioned to energy-saving compact fluorescent (CFL) and light emitting diode (LED) bulbs will need to do so as remaining inventories of the traditional incandescent light bulbs are sold out,” said James P. Laurito, President of Central Hudson.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, new lighting standards were enacted in 2007, with a phase in period from 2012 to 2014. The standards do not ban a specific type of bulb; however they require that new lighting use as least 25 percent less energy while producing the same amount of light. Up to 90 percent of the electricity used by incandescent bulbs is converted to heat rather than light, and as a result, incandescent bulbs have been phased out, beginning with 100 watt bulbs in 2012; 75 watt bulbs in 2013; and 60 watt and 40 watt bulbs in 2014. Specialty bulbs, for example those used in certain appliances, are exempt from the new standards.

“CFL and LED bulbs have improved dramatically during the last few years, offering a wide variety of options while saving energy and costs in the long run,” said Laurito. “While initially higher priced, CFL and LED bulbs last 10 to 25 times longer and use about 25 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs, saving money over the life of the bulb.”

The Department of Energy estimates that changing 15 incandescent bulbs could save about $50 per year in household energy costs; and that the new lighting standards will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and could save U.S. households nearly $6 billion in 2015 alone.

Both CFL and LED bulbs are available in different sizes and light color options, and many are suitable for outdoor use and can be used with dimmer switches. Most can be used with existing lamps and fixtures, and are available at retailers nationwide. As a comparison, a 60 watt incandescent bulb provides 13 to 14 lumens of light per watt, while equivalent CFL bulbs provide 55 to 70 lumens per watt and LED bulbs from 60 to 100 lumens per watt.

For more information on CFL and LED bulbs, go to www.CentralHudson.com, and click on “Environment & Sustainability,” then “Light Bulb Choices”; or visit the U.S. Dept. of Energy website at http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/new-lighting-standards-begin-2012.

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