Shining a light on energy efficiency

Federal policies are often wrought for political gain and public good. But this may be the first time federal rules have been rolled back on account of vanity: Trump reversed the shift to low-energy light bulbs, saying the light they emit is unflattering. And he told the Energy Department to jettison requirements for low-flow shower heads because they failed to rinse his hair properly. 

The administration also exempted some clothes washers and dryers from energy efficiency standards. California led a coalition of states opposing Trump’s move. 

Biden can reverse the rollbacks via executive order. On his first day in office, he directed the Department of Energy to review appliance and building efficiency rollbacks.

As a candidate, he folded building and consumer product energy savings into his climate plan, including initiatives to upgrade millions of buildings and establish national building performance standards.  Big deal? California thinks so. State law requires a doubling of statewide energy savings by 2030. All sectors of California’s built environment — state buildings, commercial and industrial structures and schools — will be asked to do their part, along with 9 million single-family homes.

60W Traditional Incandescent

Incandescent light bulb - Wikipedia
43W
Energy-Saving Incandescent


43
15W CFL

15
12W LED

12
Energy $ Saved (%)
compared to incandescent
~25%~75%~75%
Annual Energy Cost*$4.80$3.50$1.20$1.00
Bulb Life1000 hours1000 to 3000 hours10,000 hours25,000 hours
*Based on 2 hrs/day of usage, an electricity rate of 11 cents per kilowatt-hour, shown in U.S. dollars.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy