New energy regulations are now in effect and Iowans may not notice until it’s time to change their light bulbs.
As of January 1st, most stores in Iowa and nationwide are no longer selling the familiar 100-watt incandescent light bulb.
Kathleen Hogan, at the U-S Department of Energy, says three new types of bulbs will save power and money.
“We do end up spending a fair amount of money through our energy bills on lighting in our homes,” Hogan says. “The new standards will help us save at least 25% on that lighting because the new standards require bulbs to be 25% more efficient.”
Three new longer-lasting types of lights are halogen, CFLs and LEDs, and all come in a variety of shapes.
Hogan says the new standards were adopted by Congress in 2007 and the Energy Department has to put them into effect. It changes us away from the typical incandescent bulb.
“The energy that goes into that bulb, about 90% of it isn’t used for light,” she says. “It comes off the bulb as heat. That makes you start thinking, wow, is this really where we should be? Is this the best version of the product?”
The three new types of bulbs that are now being sold are more expensive to buy than the standard bulbs, but Hogan says they’ll save Iowans money in the long run.
“If you use a 100-watt bulb for two hours a day every day for a year, you’re actually spending about $8 a year,” Hogan says. “If you use it more than two hours a day, it’s even more money. If you were to buy some of these bulbs that save 75% of the energy, that’s $6 you can save off of $8.”
She calls it a tremendous opportunity for consumer savings.
There will be no changes to the way light fixtures are made. The bulbs are all designed for current fixtures.