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Energy efficiency is the most powerful and cost-effective tool for achieving a sustainable future. Improvements can reduce the need for investment in energy infrastructure, cut fuel costs, increase competitiveness, improve consumer welfare and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Lighting is the low-hanging fruit of energy consumption: It accounts for 19 percent of the world’s energy use and for 22 percent of U.S. usage. Public and commercial buildings represent 60 percent of the power used for lighting, up to 80 percent of offices are lit by outdated and inefficient systems. Lighting accounts for 15 percent of household electricity use.
There are 4.4 billion traditional light sockets in the United States alone, offering a rapid and practical path for billions of dollars in energy savings through the installation of more efficient lighting.
Last month, Lighting Science Group celebrated a monumental achievement — becoming the first U.S. company to manufacture 2 million LED bulbs in less than a year. These bulbs will save Americans about $34 million in electricity costs — more than 280 million kilowatt hours — over the course of a year, equal to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from about 38,000 passenger vehicles or the carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity use of about 24,000 homes for one year. A year ago, Lighting Science Group had 100 employees in Florida; we now have 350.
It is unfortunate that some in Congress want to roll back standards signed into law by President George W. Bush that are designed to increase the efficiency of light bulbs by at least 25 percent.
Doing so will inevitably increase energy bills, stifle innovation that is creating U.S. jobs and increase air pollution that harms human health and the environment. Congress should reject efforts to repeal these standards and vote no on H.R. 2417, a bill by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) that would repeal the Bush-era energy-efficiency requirements.
Jim Haworth is chairman and CEO of Lighting Science Group Corp.