The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced plans for a new consumer education initiative to help retailers, utility companies and lighting designers inform consumers about upcoming changes in light bulb regulations.
The initiative will seek to prepare consumers for the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), which calls for the gradual phase-out of incandescent light bulbs over the next few years in favor of more energy-efficient alternatives like CFLs and LEDs. Standard 100W incandescent lamps will be phased out starting in 2012, with 75W, 60W and 40W bulbs being phased out by 2014. The campaign will also focus on how to select bulbs based on lumen output instead of wattage.
Marci Sanders, Manager of DOE’s Lighting Facts program, which aims to ensure LEDs are represented accurately in the market, says the idea for the initiative came from several retailers and manufacturers who are Lighting Facts partners.
“With the phasing out of the higher-wattage incandescent bulbs, we actually had retailers coming to us and asking for help communicating the changes to consumers in an objective manner,” Sanders says. “With this campaign, no matter which retailer a consumer walks into to buy light bulbs, they’re going to see the same conversion charts and the same objective, third-party information about the changes, so the consumer won’t get confused.”
The initiative is still in the planning stages, with the DOE looking at how other countries in Europe and Australia have handled similar changes, as well as how the United States handled public information during the recent transition from analog to digital television broadcasting. Sanders says the DOE hopes to start getting information out late this year or early next year.