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California Becomes First State to Set Standards for Light Bulbs

The new regulation will make LED bulbs the standard for home lighting to save energy for the state and, in the long run, save costs for consumers.

(TNS) -- The California Energy Commission on Wednesday, Jan. 27, adopted first-in-the-nation energy standards for the next generation of light bulbs.

Under the standards approved by the Sacramento-based CEC, LED bulbs will emerge as a statewide staple and some forms of traditional track lighting will be phased out.

The new standards cover general purpose light-emitting diodes – LEDs for short – to replace typical existing home lighting, and small-diameter directional lamps, often used in track lighting.

The CEC contends that the adopted standards will save consumers more than $4 billion in energy costs over 13 years, and conserve enough electricity to power all the households in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, about 400,000 average homes.

Bulbs that meet the new standards are already manufactured on a wide scale and currently available to consumers in stores.

Consumer complaints about LEDs typically center on cost – a standard household bulb generally costs $5 to $10, depending on its capabilities – compared with less expensive, traditional bulbs. The CEC says that cost will be made up over time in energy savings.

The new LED standards include a minimum lifetime requirement of 10,000 hours, which the CEC said was equivalent to a 10-year life in a typical home.

The CEC said lifetime savings for general purpose LEDs will range from $4.50 to $12 and will likely grow as purchase prices continue to decline.

The standards for LEDs initially take effect Jan. 1, 2018. The CEC added, however, that “additional amendments to strengthen efficiency and limit power in standby mode” take effect July 1, 2019.

Small-diameter directional lamps are commonly used by retailers, hotels and museums. The CEC said about 16 million such bulbs are in use in California.

The new standards cover directional lamps with a diameter of 2.25 inches or less. The standards require a minimum lifetime of 25,000 hours for each product, a standard that can only be met by LED lamps.

The CEC flatly said the adoption of the new standards is expected to prompt a transition to LEDs from “less-efficient technologies.”

According to the CEC, a $4 investment in more-efficient small-diameter directional lamps will save nearly $250 in reduced energy and bulb replacement costs, averaged over 11 years.

The new standards for small-diameter directional bulbs will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. CEC spokeswoman Amber Pasricha Beck said the two-year period will enable manufacturers to make necessary adjustments in their products and distribution.

The CEC previously said that Wednesday’s action by the CEC does not affect already existing stocks in stores, which are allowed to continue to sell less-efficient lighting until supplies run out.

©2016 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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