Source: The Bulletin    By Nadja Popovich,  New York Times Service   Date: March 13th, 2019

Article Condensed; See link to full Article below.

Solar panels and wind turbines get a lot of attention. A more inconspicuous instrument is helping to reshape America’s energy economy: The humble lightbulb.

Over the past decade, traditional incandescent bulbs, those distinctive glass orbs with glowing wire centers, have been rapidly replaced by more energy-efficient lighting. The shift has driven down electricity demand in U.S. homes, saving consumers money and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The energy savings are expected to grow as highly efficient and increasingly inexpensive LED bulbs continue to replace older lights. Energy-efficiency advocates worry the Trump administration could slow the pace of this lighting revolution.

Last month, the Department of Energy said it would withdraw an Obama-era regulation that nearly doubled the number of lightbulbs subject to energy-efficiency requirements.

Industry groups are also pushing back on new lighting efficiency requirements slated to go into effect next year.

After climbing for decades, electricity use by U.S. households has declined over the past eight years.

“That’s a staggering change,” said Lucas Davis, an energy economist at the University of California, Berkeley.

Congress established the first national lightbulb efficiency standards in 2007, which were signed into law by President George W. Bush.

Starting in 2012, the law required new lightbulbs to use 28 percent less power than existing incandescent lights — essentially ending the sale of the older, inefficient bulbs.

A new generation of halogen bulbs initially replaced traditional incandescents, but, more recently, sales of highly efficient LEDs have grown as their prices have fallen.

The switch to more efficient lighting has been relatively rapid, Davis said, because of the short life span of traditional lightbulbs.

While consumers may replace an old refrigerator or dishwasher with an energy-saving model once a decade, incandescent bulbs last only about a year before they need replacing.

“When you take out incandescent lightbulbs and replace them with LEDs, the amount of electricity you consume goes down more than 80 percent,” Davis said. “There’s nothing else like that.” See the full article at

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