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US Joins UK In Move To Low Energy Lighting

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The global move towards low energy lighting has been joined by the US, where incandescent bulbs will be phased out and new technologies such as LEDs brought in.

Despite objections from many in the US, the legislation mandating greater efficiency became law on January 1 this year.

Due in part to the new standards in the US and Europe, major leaps are being made within the lighting industry as research takes place to build better lights and different types of bulb.

The bulb that was invented by Thomas Edison and has been used for so many years is on its way out, and is being replaced by newer more advanced technology that improves energy usage and environmental impact of light bulbs.

The way the whole world views light bulbs needs to change - moving away from a throw away cheap item to something that is more likely to be viewed as a long-life home appliance. LED lighting and other newer technologies can give up to twenty years of use rather than about twelve months from a normal bulb.

Lighting companies in the US are gradually phasing out the old style bulbs, like the 100-watt bulb. New technologies are replacing the former and will use at least 28 per cent less power. These changes will bring the US in line with the UK and other countries in Europe, where eco-friendly bulbs were introduced three years ago.

China will also be joining in this year, banning the 100-watt bulbs and implementing plans for bulbs to have lower wattage by 2016.

"There are about four billion screw-in sockets out there [in the U.S.], and today only a quarter of them have an energy-saving bulb in them," said Noah Horowitz, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"When the standards are in full effect, we'll cut our nation's electric bill by about $12.5 billion a year and eliminate the need for 30 large power plants and all the pollution that comes from them. It's a big deal."

The change in standards comes in as many lighting companies, large and small, are developing new technology for the industry.

This has already included a new type of incandescent bulb, the 72 watt halogen incandescent bulb, which is relatively inexpensive and will fit into existing sockets.

"It's a bulb that costs only marginally more," said Brian Howard, co-author of a book on new lighting technologies, Green Lighting.

"You get the same colour, temperature, light that we're used to. So really the only disadvantage is that they don't last quite as long as fluorescents. The lifetime of halogen incandescent (bulb) is about two to three years".

Small steps of change are beginning and according to the US Energy Star efficiency programme, if every home switched just one bulb with an energy efficient one, the US would save $600 million a year.

UK energy savers can snap up their environmentally friendly LED lights for both inside and outside the house from leading lights specialists www.lights2go.co.uk.


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