Department of Energy Adopts New Energy Rules for Light Bulbs

Leadership represented by a glowing light bulb among a line of unlit bulbs.
Published On
May 3, 2022

Incandescent light bulbs will soon be things of the past. On Apr. 26, 2022, the Department of Energy adopted two rules for light bulbs with the goal of conserving energy and saving customers money on energy bills. These rules reverse a Trump-era policy that prolonged the life of these bulbs.

The rules expand energy-efficiency requirements to additional types of light bulbs and require manufacturers to sell bulbs that are at least 45 lumens per watt. This will prohibit the sale of most incandescent and halogen bulbs and will leave compact fluorescents and LEDs.

These rules are among the 100 energy-efficiency programs the Biden administration is completing in 2022 with the goal of saving families $100 every year.

“By raising energy efficiency standards for lightbulbs, we’re putting $3 billion back in the pockets of American consumers every year and substantially reducing domestic carbon emissions,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The lighting industry is already embracing more energy efficient products, and this measure will accelerate progress to deliver the best products to American consumers and build a better and brighter future.”

When these rules are in place, stated the DOE, consumers will save nearly $3 billion per year on utility bills. Over the next 30 years, the DOE estimates these rules to cut carbon emissions by 222 million metric tons, which is equivalent to the emissions generated by 28 million homes in one year. LED bulbs also last 25-50 times longer than incandescent ones.

According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, halogen or incandescent bulbs made up 30% of light bulbs sold in the United States in 2020, and every month these standards are delayed costs customers nearly $300 million in energy bills and causes 800,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

The efficiency standard will go into effect 75 days after publication in the Federal Register. For manufactures, the new rules will be enforced starting Jan. 1, 2023, but retailers and distributors will have an extra seven months to sell their existing inventory. The DOE has also announced an enforcement policy to help “entities all along the distribution chain, including manufacturers, importers, private labelers, distributors, and retailers adjust their production and inventory.”

Stay Informed Join our Newsletter

Having trouble finding time to sit down with the latest issue of
ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR? Don't worry, we'll come to you.