Biden Administration’s Bold Move: Cracking Down on Lightbulbs to Advance Climate Agenda

As part of its ambitious climate plan, the Biden administration published on Friday final regulations aimed at common lightbulbs.

The Department of Energy has announced new standards for general-purpose lamps. These include most types of lightbulbs used in residential and commercial settings. The agency stated that the regulations would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ultimately reducing 70 million metric tonnes of dangerous carbon dioxide in the next 30 years.

In a recent statement, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm stated that “making common household appliances more energy efficient is a great way to reduce energy costs and harmful carbon emissions.”

Under President Biden’s leadership and by the directives of Congress, DOE is following lightbulb makers, helping American households flip the switch to massive energy savings by strengthening energy efficiency standards.

DOE says that the new standards for lightbulb efficiency will also save American households $1.6 billion annually in energy costs.

Manufacturers will have to increase the efficiency of lightbulbs to over 120 lumens/watt by mid-2028. This is a 170% improvement. The standards will only apply to LED bulbs and not compact fluorescent bulbs.

According to the Residential Energy Consumption Survey, while U.S. homes have been increasingly switching to LED bulbs since 2015, less than half reported that they use LEDs exclusively or mostly.

The federal data revealed that 47% of households use only or mostly LEDs. 15% use mostly incandescent or halogens. 12% use all or mostly compact fluorescents. Another 26% report no dominant bulb type.

According to survey data, LEDs were also more popular among households with higher incomes, which means that the energy regulations could have the greatest impact on lower-income Americans. Only 39% of households earning less than $20,000 per year use LEDs.

The DOE also targeted a wide range of home appliances including water heaters (including stovetops), dishwashers, fridges, and ceiling fans.

The DOE efficiency standards should benefit consumers. Ben Lieberman is a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He stated that this is the way the law was written. “But it’s clear that they are being done to meet the climate agenda. Especially this agenda of electrifying everything.”

DOE has meanwhile pointed out its authority under 1975’s Energy Policy and Conservation Act. This act established a federal government program that included test procedures, energy targets, and labeling for consumer products. The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 established minimum appliance standards, and required DOE to update these standards periodically.