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California is first to adopt light bulb efficiency standards

Californians will see the light – and a resulting energy cost savings – earlier than the rest of the United States.

The California Energy Commission says Golden State consumers will be the first in the nation to save money under a federal law improving the energy-efficiency standard of light bulbs.

The standard outlined in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 says that a 100-watt bulb manufactured on or after a set date must use 28 percent less energy than a traditional 100-watt incandescent light bulb. In effect, the bulb cannot use more than 72 watts.

The federal law set adoption of the standard on Jan. 1, 2012, but California was given authority to implement it one year earlier to avoid sales of 10.5 million comparatively inefficient 100-watt bulbs in 2011.

The estimated cost savings to consumers for that alone is $35.6 million.

"This is in keeping with the traditional role of California being a leader in energy efficiency," said energy commission spokesman Adam Gottlieb. "After 132 years, we're giving (Thomas) Edison a makeover."

The commission said current bulb technology – halogen, compact fluorescent or light-emitting diode bulbs – enables a bulb of 72 watts or less to provide the same amount of light as a traditional 100-watt incandescent bulb, while using less power and costing less to illuminate. And the modern bulbs last longer.

The primary energy loss from older-generation bulbs was from generated heat.

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