When President Bush signed in the energy efficiency bill in 2007 he opened the route to a greener American economy. The standards that the 2007 bill will introduce will effectively rule out the incandescent bulb as we know it as a lighting option. What is it about this tiny bulb that has made it the object of so much debate and discussion since 2007.
The bulb wastes 95 % of its electricity and there are 4 billion of these energy hogs in sockets across United States.
4 billion X 65 watts X 8 hours a day X 365 days a year = 759.2 billion kWh OR 91.10 billion dollars per annum.
The LED bulb can cut this by a tenth to 75 billion kWh or 9.1 billion dollars per annum. It is this potential saving of 82 billion dollars per annum is what makes it a big deal.
Experts are more guarded in their estimates. After all not everyone will replace their bulbs overnight and not every bulb will get replaced by the LED bulb. The most conservative estimates peg the annual energy savings at $13 billion. To put it in perspective, Nepal with a GDP of 12.89 billion dollars occupies the 106th position in global GDP rankings. The GDP of 75 countries is less than $ 13 billion per annum!
The Energy Bill does not infringe on the freedom of choice. It is technologically neutral. It does not dictate which bulb you can or cannot use. It specifies energy efficiency standards for bulbs. The bill envisages that by 2012 some bulbs would use 30% less energy than a traditional incandescent does at present. By 2020, bulbs will be expected to have a light output of at least 45 lumens per watt. Can incandescent bulbs meet the cut off? Probably not. GE had plans to make efficient incandescent bulbs but is reported to have shelved the plan. Halogen bulbs, which are a type of incandescent bulb will live on beyond 2012. Some specialty bulbs are also exempt from the conditions of the bill. The bulk of the vacant sockets will however be taken over by LED lamps.
The lighting industry has boldly taken up the challenge that the bill has thrown at them. Technologies exist today to combine both light quality and energy efficiency. Companies have invested in revamped supply lines and new production facilities to have the right product in your sockets when you need them.
Will any jobs be lost?
One of the arguments against energy efficient bulbs is that as manufacturing plants for incandescent bulbs are shut down, jobs will be lost. The truth is quite the opposite.
- GE did close one plant in Virginia but expanded the facility in Ohio doubling the jobs in the Ohio plant.
- Osram Sylvania protected the jobs in its incandescent bulb facility when it re-tooled the factory.
- TCP Inc is moving production to America from China,
- CREE a leading manufacturer of LED chips is creating 800 new jobs in the Durham area.
- Lighting Science Group is expected to create 832 new jobs in the Florida area.
MyLEDLightingGuide.com light works closely with suppliers that manufacture green lighting products in the United States. Many of our products are made in US and several others have US components. The LED lighting revolution is creating high paying green jobs in United States and the US is now one of the leading exporters of high technology LED products globally.
The job creation potential of LED lighting is overwhelmingly positive. Some jobs will be lost in incandescent bulb manufacturing but many more and better paying ones are being created in the LED lighting space.
What about the electrical contractors?
LED lighting can last for decades. Electrical contractors fear that they will lose out on maintenance contracts. The fear is not without reason. What else would you expect from a bulb that lasted upwards of 50,000 hours! Electrical contractors will move on from low value add regular maintenance jobs to system enhancements that will pay back every dollar invested within a couple of years. Employers will no longer look for the cheapest bulb available. Instead, a systems approach will ensure a win-win situation for both employers and contractors in the process transforming America into a global green tech powerhouse.
Edison’s century old bulb is as bad a deal as any you can get. The bulb is cheap to buy but costly to operate. Over its life time a 65-Watt incandescent bulb will set you back by $20 more in electricity than a comparable LED product that uses 7-10 times less electricity.
If the United States is to meet international expectations of leading the race against climate change the energy inefficient ways of the incandescent bulb had to go.
Energy efficient lights make sense because they more than make up for their higher price through cost savings in energy bills. Admittedly, there are some lights – those in the cellar for example that you may need to use sparingly. The energy saving potential of these lights will never match the investment in a quality system of LEDs. Yet energy savings are only one aspect of the intelligent LED bulb. Mercury emissions, jobs generated at home and meeting international commitments, and reducing overall electricity load in your move towards solar energy panels are all part of the formidable array of arguments that are making the LED bulb the darling of corporations and households.
Stay tuned to MyLEDLightingGuide.com to learn about new products, for more news about manufacturing and jobs moving to United States and for guidance about the right bulb to fit your needs as you move onto a greener more stable future.
There is one point we would like to emphasize. You will always be able to buy the right bulb for your fixtures. What the 2007 regulation will do is force manufacturers to make a better bulb for you. Manufacturing jobs moving back to United States is an added bonus. No regulation can ever dictate which bulb you must buy.