How Many Presidents Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?

Obama announces new efficiency standards that save energy and money


Tim Ballo, Earthjustice, (202) 667-4500, ext. 209

How many Presidents of the United States does it take to change a light bulb?

Just one.  

New lighting standards announced Monday by President Obama will save enough energy annually to power all U.S. homes for almost a year, while saving consumers $1 billion to $4 billion a year in utility bills. The long-delayed standards come just a few months after the President directed Energy Secretary Steven Chu to speed up the process of setting efficiency standards for variety of home and commercial appliances, from microwaves to soft-drink vending machines.

“This is the kind of action that will build the clean energy economy of the future,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Ballo, who is advocating for stronger efficiency standards on behalf of Earthjustice and the Sierra Club. “Millions of Americans have already changed their lightbulbs to save energy and fight global warming. These new standards will help our homes and businesses make the switch, and as a result, save billions of dollars in utility bills.”

The Department of Energy calculated that over the life of a typical bulb meeting the new standards, the average buyer would save over $67 on a new fluorescent lamp and about $8 on a new incandescent reflector lamp. Cumulatively, the new standards will save users up to $71 billion over thirty years.

The new lighting standards will save enough energy to eliminate the need for up to 14 large power plants. The standards will also cut carbon dioxide emissions by 593 million metric tons over 30 years, an act equivalent to removing roughly 110 million cars from the road for a year.

“DOE could have gone farther, but this is a significant improvement from where the Bush administration was heading with these standards,” said Ballo. “As the President said, a lightbulb may seem like a small thing, but as the administration rolls out more new standards in coming months, cumulatively it will make a big impact.”

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