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n:vision 23W (100W equivalent) compact fluorescent
New bill would mandate that light bulbs produce 120 lumens per watt by 2020

It looks as though energy efficiency is still a big priority for municipalities and countries across the globe. We've already detailed energy-efficient LED lighting efforts put forth by Raleigh, NC. We've also discussed how Australia and the European Union (EU) plan to get rid of incandescent light bulbs by 2009. The United States is also moving towards ushering out inefficient lighting with H.R. 1547, which was published on March 15, 2007.

The bill (PDF), which was submitted by California representative Jane Harman, indicates that light bulbs which have an overall luminous efficacy of 60 lumens per watt (lm/W) will be prohibited by January 1, 2012. The energy requirements get progressively steeper every four years. On January 1, 2016, the requirement will grow to 90 lm/W and will reach 120 lm/W by 2020.

A traditional 100W tungsten incandescent light has an overall luminous efficacy of 17.5 lm/W. A 23W compact fluorescent (100W equivalent) has an overall luminous efficacy of 60 lm/W.

Exemptions could be made by the Secretary of Energy for certain applications where it wouldn't be feasible to use energy-efficient lighting. These include applications related to military, medical or matters of public safety.

If an exception is made by the Secretary of Energy, that still doesn't give entitle the recipient to a free pass to continue using outdated technology. The exemption will only be in effect for two years after which the current enacted requirement will have to be adhered to.

The bill also notes that consumers and businesses will be given incentives to encourage the use of energy efficient light bulbs.

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That will help . . .
By vanka on 3/22/2007 4:35:11 PM , Rating: 2
I just love how government has the audacity to mandate future technological innovation. (It sure worked in California with the electric cars didn't it?) That's doesn't mean that I'm against the "clean" technologies - under closer scrutiny most of them are not as clean as they first appear - but when politicians that have a basic grasp of high school science at best start mandating deadlines by which a certain technology must exist, it gets to me.

Now CF technology may already be at the level that is required to meet the proposed standards - but will they be economically viable? Remember someone must always foot the bill for higher priced technology. Car companies are able to sell hybrids at a loss because the profits from regular car sales covers the cost and they get CAFE credits (the average fuel-economy of all the cars a company sells must be at a certain level - a hybrid can compensate for the low MPG of another car so the company avoids fines); while many consumers are willing to pay a premium for the tax-break that comes with a hybrid. But in this case the driving force is the free market, not government mandates. The government did not mandate that all cars must be hybrids - it provided R&D money for battery research (during the electric car heyday and this carried over to hybrids) and monetary incentives in the form of tax-breaks and so forth.

What does not work is to mandate some desired outcome and hope that technology catches up in time to fulfill that dream. But knowing politicians, the next bill will require NASA, Boeing, etc to have developed a warp drive by 2020 and teleportation by 2025 so that we can start mining the asteroids instead of depleting Earth's limited resources.

RE: That will help . . .
By Fritzr on 3/23/2007 5:57:36 AM , Rating: 2
Actually the next bill will take notice of the delay in developing the next generation of the energy efficient light bulb and extend all the deadlines by 50yrs ... look at the history of the CAFE law, HDTV transition & similar date setting where Congress has relied on R&D that hasn't been done yet :)

RE: That will help . . .
By vanka on 3/23/2007 5:43:56 PM , Rating: 2
Good point, but most of the extensions were not written into the law in the beginning; they were added later as manufactures and common sense said that technology wasn't there yet. I'm specifically talking about the CARB (California Air Resource Board) mandate for zero-emission cars. It was supposed to require the top five or so car manufactures to have a certain percentage of the cars sold by them in the state be zero-emission vehicles. This was supposed to be a gradual, step-like process with the percentage increasing every year to a set minimum.

Guess what? It didn't work. The manufactures came and begged CARB to extend the deadline; which CARB did - but only the incremental deadlines, not the final one. What CARB refused to believe was that zero-emission tech was nowhere near maturity; they choose to believe that the manufactures were dragging their feet. While many people say they would love to have an electric car; do they really want a subcompact that travels a maximum of 120 miles per charge under perfect driving conditions (no AC, no hills, very little stop-and-go), takes 6+ hours to charge, and cost $250,000? All this was true of GM's second generation electric car; the first was even worse. The reason people loved GM's EV1 was that the car was leased (and GM lost massive amounts of cash) and the leasing process was very thorough; people were approved for a lease only if their daily drive was under what the battery could support, if they had another car, and met other conditions to insure that the limitations of the EV1 would not be a concern. Hydrogen has also been getting a lot of attention lately; but it is nowhere near ready for prime-time. But CARB refused to even consider that there may be valid reasons for the lack of zero-emission vehicles; last I heard the manufactures were suing CARB to have the law declared invalid.

My question is does government meddling speed the transition to a newer and/or cleaner technology? You mention CAFE which was implemented in the 70s to combat high gas prices. The thing one needs to remember is that people are not complete and utter morons who don't know what's good for them (as a fair percentage of our politicians seem to think); but they are usually pretty good at choosing the correct course of action - especially when it involves their wallet. When the gas prices jumped up 5-6 years ago, people felt the hit to their wallets and full-size SUV sales decreased. Those who needed them or could afford to pay the higher prices continued to buy them; while those couldn't didn't. The market works. We seem to have made the switch from candles to electric lights; from outhouses to indoor plumbing; from buggies to cars; etc pretty well on our own without government's heavy hand guiding us. Imagine if government had required the whole nation to be wired with electric lights five years after Edison perfected his light bulb; can you imagine the result - when I try I start to shiver. My whole point is that it is foolish and wasteful at best for government to mandate the use of technology that is immature or nonexistent at present. I have no problem with a requirement for more efficient and clean lighting, cars, whatever; as long as the technology exists, is mature, and affordable for the average citizen. Until then the government should either invest in the research of said technology or help to offset the cost to the average user.

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