Heidi Strawn
May 3, 2011

Energy-efficient light bulb

Courtesy Jeffrey Hamilton/Digital Vision/Thinkstock

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Light bulbs carrying the Energy Star label will be 30 percent more energy efficient starting in October 2011.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently updated its standards for light fixtures to qualify for the Energy Star label. To qualify for the Energy Star label, light fixtures will need to increase energy efficiency 30 percent above currently qualified fluorescent-based fixtures. The standard will go into effect October 1, 2011, and in 2013, performance requirements will increase further, providing 40-percent higher energy efficiency compared to currently qualified models.

Light fixtures that earn the Energy Star label save consumers money on their energy bills and reduce the costs and hassle associated with bulb replacement. The bulbs in Energy Star qualified fixtures last at least 10 times longer than standard light bulbs. The fixtures will continue to meet other strict performance requirements that ensure quick start-up and high-quality light output, as well as reduced toxics in the fixture materials. Additionally, the fixtures will come with a 3-year warranty, which is above the industry practice.

Consumers can expect to see a range of technology options qualifying under the new Energy Star requirements—including fluorescent and LED lighting—each held to the same standard. In order to earn the Energy Star label under the new requirements, product performance must be certified by an EPA-recognized third-party, based on testing in an EPA-recognized laboratory. In addition, manufacturers of the products must participate in verification testing programs run by recognized certification bodies.

Energy Star was started by EPA in 1992 as a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the Energy Star label can be found on more than 60 different kinds of products as well as new homes and commercial and industrial buildings that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by EPA. Last year alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved $18 billion on their energy bills while reducing greenhouse-gas emissions equivalent to 33 million vehicles.

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