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Bad vs. good bulbs on the Hill

An energy-efficient compact flourescent light bulb, left, and an incandescent bulb.

TEXT OF STORY

Jeremy Hobson: Well one thing on the agenda in Washington today will be an unusual twist on the light bulbs we use. A Senate Committee will consider a republican proposal to repeal the new standards that have us transitioning to energy efficient bulbs.

From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Eve Troeh reports.


Eve Troeh: Five years ago, President George W. Bush signed a law that set a new bar for light bulbs, just as other laws had done for home appliances.

Kateri Callahan: Refrigerators, clothes washers, toilets.

Kateri Callahan leads the Alliance to Save Energy.

Callahan: Do we want to go back to the refrigerators of the 1970s that were smaller, didn't work as well, and used 75 percent more energy? I don't think so, and why would we want to do it on light bulbs?

She says incandescent bulbs don't make sense. You know how they get hot to the touch? That's 90 percent of the bulb's energy being wasted. Under the current law, bulbs have two years to perform better or they'll get phased out. The BULB Act would keep inefficient lights on store shelves.

A surprising opponent to the BULB Act? The lighting industry. Fred Hauber runs Eastern Energy Services.

Fred Hauber: This is government regulation that was sorely needed, which also creates jobs.

Jobs in research, engineering and manufacturing as companies like his have invested in new lighting technology.

I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.

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