News

California Lights the Way with Proposals for Energy-Efficient Lights (9/30/2014)

CEC Press Release: September 30, 2014
Media Contact: Amber Beck -  916-654-4989916-654-4989

California Lights the Way with Proposals for Energy-Efficient Lights 

Improving Efficiency of Small Bulbs Generally Used in Track Lighting and Light-Emitting Diodes (LED)
Designed to Replace Incandescent Bulbs

Sacramento: The California Energy Commission released a draft staff report that shines a little light on the energy efficiency of small diameter directional lamps often used in commercial track lighting settings and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that can replace screw-based incandescent bulbs typically found in homes.

     [More on small diameter directional lamps]

"Rapid technology advances have produced highly energy-efficient, long-lasting light sources that are every bit as aesthetically pleasing as conventional lighting sources, and even more functional," said Commissioner Andrew McAllister, the agency's lead on energy efficiency issues. "Updating your older bulbs with modern versions is one of the easiest ways to save money and help our great state reach its energy goals."

To develop the report, the Energy Commission sought stakeholder input and proposals on standards, test procedures, labeling requirements, and other measures to reduce energy consumption.

The Energy Commission hosted a workshop yesterday to gather public input on the draft proposed standards in the report. Written comments on the proposal will be accepted through October 29. The purpose of the workshop and written comment period is to gather input before formally proposing new standards with a rulemaking. Final standards are expected to be adopted in 2015 and take effect no earlier than one year after adoption.

Small-diameter directional lamps, specifically multifaceted reflector lamps (MR-16s), are available in three technologies–halogen, halogen infrared reflecting (HIR) and LED. In California, about 16 million of these lamps are installed in existing buildings, and the stock is expected to grow to more than 20 million by 2028.

Energy Commission staff found a large variation in energy efficiency among lamps sold in California. Halogen bulbs start at 15 lumens per watt, while LEDs range from 40-90 lumens per watt and consume as little as one-sixth of the energy. Although LEDs are initially more expensive to purchase, the life of one LED lamp is about seven times greater than the life of one halogen lamp, so fewer lamps need to be purchased. Because LEDs consume much less energy than conventional lamps, the lifetime energy savings far exceeds the higher purchase cost. Energy Commission staff proposes that, effective January 1, 2018, all small directional lamps have an efficiency minimum of 80 lumens per watt and a rated life of nearly three years.

Lighting is estimated to consume 22 percent of residential electricity, according to the 2009 Residential Appliance Saturation Survey (RASS). There are about 600 million general-purpose lamps in residential buildings in California. Moving to high-efficiency LED lamps could cut the energy consumption of these bulbs to less than half.

The Energy Commission staff proposal focuses on three aspects of lamps: the efficiency, color rendering index (CRI), and color correlated temperature. The proposal allows for tradeoffs between the efficiency of a lamp and color rendering and would be implemented in two phases with the first on January 1, 2017, and a second more stringent phase on January 1, 2019. The proposal also includes labeling standards that require manufacturers to meet minimum thresholds before making claims about dimmability and applicability to retrofits of traditionally incandescent sockets.

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The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, six basic responsibilities guide the Energy Commission as it sets state energy policy: forecasting future energy needs; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state's appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs; developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation; planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies. For more information, visit: www.energy.ca.gov or www.energy.ca.gov/releases/.

Sign up for California Energy Commission news releases at http://www.energy.ca.gov/releases/.

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Call to action: Make clothes dryers more energy-efficient to save consumers up to $4 billion (6/12/2014)

Noah Horowitz writes that extensive research done by NRDC and its consultant ECOVA shows that updating residential dryers to the level of the most efficient versions sold overseas could save U.S. consumers a whopping $4 billion a year. Dryers are one of the largest energy users in our homes and represent 2 percent of our nations entire electricity consumption.

Read more...

Consumers Could Save About $1000 per Year with Efficiency Standards (10/29/2013)

Consumers could save about a thousand dollars on annual household energy costs if energy-efficiency performance standards were more prevalent and better understood. That’s according to a report, Energy Efficiency Performance Standards: The Cornerstone of Consumer-Friendly Energy Policy, released today by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). The report also finds a broad consensus among a variety of independent policy evaluations that energy-efficiency performance standards, when effectively implemented, are the ideal tool for delivering these savings. Currently, proceedings affecting almost two-dozen new energy performance standards for a broad spectrum of products are pending at the federal and state levels.

Read more...

Read a related blog post by Ben Longstreth, NRDC

Friday Night Lights: Thanks to DOE, It Won't Cost as Much to Light Your High School Football Field (8/14/2013)

DOE Overestimating Impact of Energy Efficiency Standards on Appliance Prices (8/5/2013)

Washington, D.C.—A new report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) finds that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has been overestimating the impact that energy efficiency standards for appliances and other products have on their price tags.

“Based on market data, the prices of many appliances have gone down even as new efficiency standards have taken effect,” said the lead author of the report and ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel. “Even when prices have gone up some, the increase is far lower than DOE estimated.”

Read more...

More Irony As the House Contradicts Itself on Energy Efficiency Standards (7/15/2013)

The House of Representatives tacked on two amendments to the Energy and Water spending bill Wednesday that would limit DOE’s ability to carry out requirements mandated by none other than…Congress. One amendment would stop DOE from enforcing lighting efficiency standards passed by Congress in 2007 and the other amendment would halt...

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President Obama Sets Lofty Goals for Appliance Standards (6/25/2013)

From Page 9 of President Obama's June 2013 Climate Plan:

Establishing a New Goal for Energy Efficiency Standards:
In President Obama’s first term, the Department of Energy established new minimum efficiency standards for dishwashers, refrigerators, and many other products. Through 2030, these standards will cut consumers’ electricity bills by hundreds of billions of dollars and save enough electricity to power more than 85 million homes for two years. To build on this success,the Administration is setting a new goal: Efficiency standards for appliances and federal buildings set in the first and second terms combined will reduce carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030 – equivalent to nearly one-half of thecarbon pollution from the entire U.S. energy sector for one year – while continuing to cut families’ energy bills.

Read the White House Fact Sheet or the President's Climate Plan

Read the ASAP blog post

Read Heather Zichal's 3-month update. Heather is the Former Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change

ASAP recommends for Next Steps for President Obama

Microwave Oven Standards News 2013 (6/3/2013)

New Standards Cut “Vampire” Energy Waste and Offer Hope that the White House and DOE Are Addressing Delays to Energy Efficiency Standards

Author: Andrew deLaski

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced new national energy efficiency standards for microwave ovens on Friday that will take a bite out of standby (or “vampire”) power. Just as important, completion of this long-delayed rule offers hope that the White House and the Department of Energy (DOE) are ready to put an end to the delays that have been plaguing new efficiency standards over the past couple of years.

First, let’s talk about microwaves. With a few simple changes, energy wasted by microwaves can be reduced to almost zero. A typical microwave spends only about 70 hours heating up food over the course of a year. For the remaining 8,690 hours (99% of the time), the microwave consumes energy continuously to power the clock display and the electronic controls. But some microwaves waste more energy than others. The microwaves that waste the most energy......Read more

News: Better Appliances: An Analysis of Performance, Features, and Price as Efficiency Has Improved (5/21/2013)

Washington, D.C. (May 21, 2013): Newer appliances are not only more efficient, they perform the same or better while including a large number of new features, according to a new report, Better Appliances: An Analysis of Performance, Features, and Price as Efficiency Has Improved, released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP). In many cases, product prices have stayed the same or even declined as efficiency has improved. In other cases, electricity bill savings outweigh price increases.

“Everyone knows that replacing your old appliance with a new, more efficient model will save you money on your utility bills,” said Steven Nadel, ACEEE executive director. “What this report shows is that consumers haven’t had to sacrifice good performance or new features in exchange for improved efficiency.”

“Many of us tend to be nostalgic about the past, but what this report shows is......

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