Trump administration plans roll back of light bulb regulations


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Tyler Chalfant | September 5th, 2019

The Trump administration announced plans on Wednesday to roll back regulations that would promote the use of more energy-efficient light bulbs. The law, passed in 2007, phased out inefficient incandescent light bulbs, and would require most bulbs to be either LEDs or fluorescent beginning on Jan. 1st of next year. 

Eliminating inefficient bulbs significantly reduces electricity use and, as a result, greenhouse gas emissions. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with LEDs can decrease electricity consumption by over 80 percent. Replacing them nationwide would save the equivalent of 25 power plants worth of electricity, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. 

Another proposed change is the elimination of a rule which would require more types of bulbs to be energy-efficient by next year, allowing for traditional incandescent bulbs of those types to continue to be sold. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association supported these changes, but also said that the new rules wouldn’t affect the market’s adoption of more efficient bulbs, which Americans are already buying.  

After rising for decades, electricity use in American households has decreased in recent years as energy-efficient light bulbs become widespread. Over 450 million LEDs had been installed by 2016, compared to less than half a million in 2009. Between 2010 and 2016, traditional incandescent bulbs dropped from making up 68 percent of all bulbs used in U.S. homes to only making up 6 percent, with fluorescent and LED bulbs expected to make up 84 percent of all “general purpose” bulbs by the end of this year. 

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