"New Lighting Standards Announced"

"The Energy Department issued new standards for lighting that would save large amounts of energy by boosting the efficiency of fluorescent tubes common in office buildings and reflector lamps used in recessed fixtures in homes and retail stores.

"When it comes to saving money and growing our economy, energy efficiency isn't just low hanging fruit; it's fruit [lying] on the ground," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement yesterday.

The department said that from 2012, when its new standards will take effect, through 2042, the United States would save as much as $4 billion annually and avoid up to 594 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, roughly the equivalent to removing 166 million cars from the road for a year.

The new rules are part of changes in lighting set in motion by the 2007 energy bill, which also mandated standards that will result in phasing out the 130-year-old incandescent light bulb by the middle of the next decade. "

Steven Mufson reports for the Washington Post June 30, 2009.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009