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DOE Finalizes Efficiency Standards for Lightbulbs

April 25, 2024
The DOE is updating general service lamps standards following a Congress mandate.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently finalized Congressionally-mandated energy efficiency standards for general service lamps (GSLs), which include the most common types of residential and commercial lightbulbs. These standards— which will go into effect in July of 2028 for newly produced bulbs—are expected to save American families $1.6 billion annually on household energy costs, significantly cut energy waste, and slash harmful greenhouse gas pollution, according to the press release from the DOE.

Over 30 years, DOE projects these updated standards will save Americans more than $27 billion on their utility bills and cut 70 million metric tons of dangerous carbon dioxide emissions—equivalent to the combined annual emissions of over 9 million homes.

DOE continues to carry out Congressional direction for energy savings that maintain reliability and performance across household appliances and commercial and industrial equipment. According to the DOE, the projects will together provide nearly $1 trillion in consumer savings over 30 years and save the average family at least $100 a year through lower utility bills. DOE also estimates that the full set of standards, once finalized, will cumulatively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2.5 billion metric tons or more—an amount roughly equivalent to the emissions of 18 million gas-powered cars, 22 coal-fired power plants, or 10.5 million homes over 30 years. 

General Service Lamps

The final rule will raise the efficiency level from 45 lumens per watt to more than 120 lumens per watt for the most common lightbulbs, in line with the ongoing transition toward more efficient and long-lasting LED bulbs that the lighting industry and consumers are already embracing. Manufacturer compliance with the efficiency standards will be required from July 25, 2028, and will apply to newly produced or imported general service lamps—not affecting continued consumer use and purchase of bulbs already manufactured. The energy savings from these standards over 30 years of shipments is approximately 4 quadrillion British thermal units, which represents a savings of 17% relative to the status quo of lightbulb energy use. 

DOE already implemented minimum lightbulb efficiency levels that were specifically directed by Congress in the bipartisan Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which set levels that cannot be met by energy-inefficient incandescent bulbs. The standards—which reflect Congressional direction for DOE to regularly review efficiency standards to ensure consumers benefit from technological advances that provide savings—set efficiency levels that can be met by a broad variety of widely available LED bulbs but not by compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), which the market is already transitioning away from. LEDs provide longer lifespans and lower electricity usage, and unlike CFLs do not contain mercury.    

Lowering Energy Costs for American Families and Businesses

For more information on cost-savings resources, consumers can utilize DOE’s Energy Savings Hub—an online resource to access the cost-saving benefits of the Investing in America agenda. The website outlines clean energy tax credits and forthcoming rebates, helping people take control of their energy costs and have cleaner and more efficient options as a consumer—whether they’re looking to purchase an electric vehicle, update an appliance, or make their home safer and more comfortable. To learn how you can drastically cut your energy bills and keep money in your pocket, visit   

DOE’s Building Technologies Office implements minimum energy conservation standards for more than 60 categories of appliances and equipment. To learn more, visit the Appliance and Equipment Standards Program homepage.  

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