The Green Living Guy

Energy Department Rings in the New Year with New Efficiency Standards for Lighting and Ice Makers

By Andrew deLaski Executive Director, Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP)

On the last day of 2014, the Department of Energy (DOE) completed new standards for fluorescent tube light bulbs and commercial ice makers, capping a tremendous year of progress for the agency’s efficiency standards efforts. By improving the efficiency of the overhead light bulbs that illuminate millions of offices across the U.S., the new fluorescent lamp standards will cut energy waste and save businesses billions of dollars. The updated commercial ice maker standards will do the same for the millions of restaurants, hotels, and other establishments that use this equipment. As part of the new lighting rule, DOE also decided to leave reflector lamp standards unchanged.

New lighting standards will put a $15 billion dent in office overhead costs

Look up in any office in the U.S. and chances are good that you’ll see overhead tube lighting. The efficiency measures announced by DOE this week are great news for businesses who stand to reap $15 billion in electricity bill savings by 2030. The new standards reduce the energy use of a single lamp by only about 4%, but because tube lighting is so prevalent, the savings add up quickly. DOE estimates that the electricity savings from products sold over a 30-year period will reach about 250 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), or enough energy to power over 20 million U.S. households for a year.

These new standards are one of the biggest energy savers since the start of the Obama administration. In addition to the energy and dollar savings, they will reduce CO2 emissions through 2030 by 90 million metric tons and bring the president closer to his goal of 3 billion metric tons of CO2 reductions from standards by 2030. The tally now stands at 2.1 billion metric tons, an amount roughly equivalent to the CO2 produced by all U.S. households in a year.

Today’s new standards build on impressive long-term progress in lighting efficiency. The previous round of improvement completed in 2009 improved the minimum allowed efficiency by 19% for fluorescent tubes. The new standards for fluorescent tube lights will take effect in 2018…

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