Apr 26, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden reverses Trump standard on incandescent lightbulbs

General Electric Co. 100-watt incandescent bulbs sit on a shelf at the Kennedy Webster Electric Co. warehouse in Downers Grove, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, July 19, 2011.
Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Energy on Tuesday unveiled new efficiency standards to phase out high-energy incandescent lightbulbs, marking a reversal of a Trump-era policy.

Driving the news: The new guidelines require lightbulbs to emit 45 lumens, a measure of brightness, per watt. The new rules also expand energy-efficiency requirements to more types of lightbulbs, the department said.

  • Bulbs that don't meet the new standard have 75 days to be phased out of production. Full enforcement goes into effect in July 2023.
  • Incandescent bulbs use a higher wattage than LED bulbs for an equivalent amount of brightness, CNN notes.

The big picture: Tuesday's announcement marks the culmination of a decades-long effort to phase out inefficient lightbulbs that was disrupted by the Trump administration, per CNN.

  • The Trump administration in 2019 blocked a George W. Bush-era rule intended to mandate that Americans use energy-efficient, general-purpose lightbulbs. The Trump administration that same year also rolled back a rule that applied efficiency standards to specialty lightbulbs.
  • The Department of Energy estimates that consumers will save nearly $3 billion per year on their utility bills once the lightbulb rules are in place.

What they're saying: "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," Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.

Go deeper: Trump administration to roll back Bush-era lightbulb standards

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to reflect that full enforcement of the new rule goes into effect in July 2023 (not on July 23).

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