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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Obama Supports Research to Improve Fluorescent Lighting

But are fluorescent lamps the only energy efficient alternative to help lower utility bills?

The Obama administration has established new energy efficiency standards for fluorescent lamps and incandescent lamps used in residential and commercial buildings.

The administration has embarked on a $346 million effort in research and development of lighting products that will increase energy efficiency and lower utility bills by $1 billion to $4 billion annually.

View the video:

Incandescents are being phased out in numerous countries, including parts of the USA and Canada, to be replaced by fluorescent bulbs. CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) are becoming more cost competitive with the old incandescents, mainly due to their lower energy use -- I've seen estimates ranging from one fifth to one third the energy use of a comparable incandescent light bulb.

That said, one must remember that CFLs contain mercury, a hazardous substance, and need to be disposed of properly to prevent mercury from entering our water.

Also, there appears to be some concern about ultraviolet lights, although what I've read suggests this may be a minor issue.

Technologies other than the proposed improvements to fluorescent bulbs may be better in the long run. For instance, many utilities are talking about the use of LED technology as a way to improve lighting efficiency.

Learn about these at a cool industry supported website, the Lighting Research Center.

The LRC is supported by government agencies interested in promoting energy conservation, including the California Energy Commission, the US EPA, the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency, and the Iowa Energy Center.

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