Weekly Feature

2012-03-01 / Business

NYSERDA wants people to see the light

New lighting choices and light bulb packaging are showing up on store shelves due to energy efficiency standards launched nationwide at the beginning of January. This means shopping for light bulbs is different than it’s been in the past.

The new standards require that light bulbs be 25 percent more efficient than traditional incandescents. The first changes, which began in January, are to 100-watt bulbs, followed by 75-, 60- and 40-watt bulbs in the next two years. In addition, new packaging for light bulbs is supposed to make it easier to compare bulbs that use different technologies, such as incandescents, compact fluorescent lights, halogens and light-emitting diodes.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority offers these tips when shopping for light bulbs as standards and packaging change:

Understand your choices. The new light bulb standards will result in more lighting options than ever before. Consumers can choose among energy efficient incandescents, CFLs, halogens and LED technology — all of which will be at least 25 percent more energy efficient than the 125-year-old Edison light bulb, one of the most inefficient products in most homes.

Get to know your lumens. The new light bulb packaging includes a new standardization measure — lumens. Lumens measure how much light a bulb produces rather than how much energy it uses, which is measured in watts.

In addition, lumens make it easier to buy the amount of light you need. A bulb with more lumens produces bright light, regardless of the type of bulb. Fewer lumens mean dimmer light. With this new standardization, comparison shopping by lumens will help consumers compare “apples to apples” across incandescent, CFLs, halogens and LEDs.

Read the lighting facts label to compare bulbs: In addition to lumen and watt information, the new lighting facts label includes estimated yearly energy cost, life expectancy of the bulb and light appearance on a scale of warm (more yellow) to cool (more blue). With more lighting technologies to choose from, this information will make it easier to determine the right bulb for the job.

Try something new and save money. The new lighting standards will help consumers use less energy and spend less money on energy bills for the same amount of light. A typical household could potentially save $100 to $150 per year on electric bills by using a combination of the more energy-efficient bulbs.

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