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California passes a new law that takes effect January 1, 2011 requiring improved energy efficiency in all light bulbs in the State.

California consumers also will save money buying LED lighting. has the best in energy efficient LED lights and now there is much more reason than ever before to change your lighting to LEDs.

A new federal law will start saving consumers money by improving the energy efficiency standard for incandescent light bulbs sold in California on or after January 1, 2011.

The standard – Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) – will save California consumers money with new bulbs that offer the same amount of light while using less power. Passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush, EISA created new energy efficiency standards for light bulbs. The law is designed to reduce energy use and associated pollution and make the United States less dependent on foreign sources of energy. While the country will adopt this standard on January 1, 2012, California was given authority to implement the national standards one year earlier to avoid the sale of 10.5 million inefficient 100-watt bulbs in 2011 which would cost consumers $35.6 million in higher electricity bills*.

Reducing energy use in California also results in improved environmental quality by avoiding the construction of new power plants and air pollution from burning fossil fuels.

The standard in California states that a 100-watt bulb manufactured on or after January 1, 2011 must use 28 percent less energy (i.e. a 100-watt bulb may not use more than 72 watts). The new 72-watt replacement bulb will provide the same amount of light (i.e. lumens), use less power, and cost less to operate.

New lighting technology has become more efficient than old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. Approximately 90% of the electricity used by traditional incandescent bulbs is wasted as heat instead of visible light. Replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with more efficient halogen, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs will save consumers money while still offering same amount of light.

The new standard is technology neutral and allows consumers to choose among a variety of high-performance products for their replacement lighting. Additionally, it does not affect the existing supply of incandescent light bulbs stocked in retail stores or incandescent light bulbs already in use.

This standard builds on the California Energy Commission’s long and successful reputation of saving consumers money though energy efficiency standards. Since 1978, California’s appliance and building efficiency standards have saved more than $56 billion in electricity and natural gas costs.

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“You will pay about USD $40 for just one LED light bulb. It is totally worth it because you will see a reduction in your electric bill almost immediately and you will not have to buy another light bulb for a very long time. These bulbs are the most eco friendly types of lighting on the market today.

“We have seen at least a fifty five percent cost savings on our monthly electricity bill.” said Ed Wond, owner of Napa Friendly Island Auto Parts in Molokai, from having switched to LED lighting.

Pittsburgh, PA announced a plan to convert all 40,000 city street lights to LED light sources, saving taxpayers an estimated $2.5 million dollars annually in energy and maintenance costs. The effort is also an eco-friendly one; the change is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 984 pounds each year.

The reasons for the change are the same reasons many cities are choosing LEDs – they use less energy, provide bright light, contain no mercury, take less maintenance to sustain, etc.

Mercury News reports that “For nearly three decades, San Jose motorists, pedestrians and cops have griped about the city’s thousands of yellow streetlights, and with good reason.

They are too easily confused with traffic signals, they distort the colors of cars and painted curbs, and they make even a full-moon night look gloomy.

But here’s some bright news. The city is looking to replace its 62,000 streetlights with new light-emitting diode (LED) versions that will cast a white, warm glow, could cut energy costs in half, and will use state-of-the-art technology to vary their intensity and timing.

The plan is to convert 100 lights this spring, a pace that could be quickened if stimulus funds being debated in Congress are sent this way. The city is seeking $20 million to install 20,000 new lights as part of a project officials think will be watched nationally.

The goal is to have all the city’s streetlights changed by 2022.  Although the new lights will cost a lot of money initially, the city estimates it could recoup its costs within five years.  San Jose’s street lighting bill is nearly $4 million a year. It’s gotten high enough that the city turned off 900 streetlights last year to save money.

“This is a win-win-win,” said Jim Helmer, head of San Jose’s Department of Transportation. “The potential is huge.”

LED lighting could save $1.8 trillion over 10 years

Replacing traditional incandescent and fluorescent bulbs with solid-state lighting (using LEDs) will enable enormous savings in cost, natural resources and pollution, according to a study ‘Transcending the replacement paradigm of solid-state lighting’ by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, USA (Optics Express, Vol 16, Issue 26, p21835).

Simple replacement results in energy efficiency improvements of 20 times compared to conventional incandescent bulbs and five times compared to compact fluorescent bulbs. Over a period of 10 years, the consequent global savings of $1.83 trillion would cut crude oil consumption by 962 million barrels and reduce the number of power plants needed by 280, eliminating 10.68 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions, reckon co-authors Jong Kyu Kim (research assistant professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering) and E. Fred Schubert (the Wellfleet Senior Constellation professor of Future Chips and head of RPI’s Smart Lighting Engineering Resource Center).

“Deployed on a large scale, LEDs have the potential to tremendously reduce pollution, save energy, save financial resources,” the researchers say. The technology presents a solution to many current global challenges, which will be yet more serious in the years to come, they add.

However, it is important not to pigeonhole or dismiss smart lighting technology as a mere replacement for conventional light bulbs, say Schubert and Kim. LED technology is starting as a simple replacement but, beyond that, it will evolve into integrated lighting systems with functions as diverse as transistors have provided for ICs, promising new applications, they add. “Transcending the replacement paradigm will open up a new chapter in photonics: smart lighting sources that are controllable, tunable, intelligent, and communicative.” 

After receiving an $18.5m five-year award in October from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Generation Three Engineering Research Center Program, the Smart Lighting Engineering Resource Center, together with Boston University and the University of New Mexico, aims to develop novel optical materials, device technologies, and system applications for smart lighting technologies.

“Besides replacement, there are also new capabilities possible in this lighting revolution,” Kim adds. The three top candidates being developed by RPI are: control of the light spectrum for medical applications, control of temporal modulation for wireless optical networking, and control of the polarization of light for improved display technologies.

Spectrum control can enable lighting to change color during the day, positively influence the mood of workers, as well as curing some medical problems that are caused today by poor lighting conditions.

Modulating LEDs at rates too fast to see will enable light fixtures to also serve as wireless access points that directly link different data streams to individual devices, instead of forcing all devices to share the same channel like RF-based wireless technologies do currently.

Controlling the polarization of the light coming from LEDs can enable liquid-crystal displays to eliminate the passive polarization filters that they currently use, greatly increasing the brightness of displays while simultaneously lowering the amount of power they consume.

Other possible smart lighting applications include rapid biological cell identification, interactive roadways, boosting plant growth, and better supporting human circadian rhythms to reduce an individual’s dependency on sleep-inducing drugs or to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, conclude the researchers.

Marietta, Georgia is a typical small town in America with typical challenges of our current economic situation and dealing with the ever-more-expensive cost of energy. 

Marietta is also leader in pro-actively taking action to solve these energy problems using LED lighting technology.  

A few days ago, Marietta Power, the electric utility serving Marietta, increased electric rates for its customers, effective February 1st.  They said the increase was necessary to cover increases in the cost of electricity that the utility purchases from the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia.  The increase, the first in five years, is going to add roughly 8% to the monthly bill of the average residential customer of the utility.  

Energy costs are hitting municipalities hard all across America.  With property taxes and other tax revenue going down in line with the economic meltdown, municipalities and other governments have less coming into the coffers from which to pay utility bills.

The only solution is to get more bang for your buck in every expenditure, including city lighting.

Marietta has been proactive and is replacing its old traffic signals with new LED lights to get that improved efficiency and more for less.  The LED traffic lights will produce substantial reductions in energy costs, but that's not all the LED traffic lights will accomplish.  LED traffic lights also improve visibility over conventional traffic lights because they are brighter – and more evenly bright – than conventional traffic lights. LEDs also last 10-20 years, which means you don't have to service them nearly as often as you had to change the conventional traffic lights (another money saver).

If you know of other towns, large or small, that are saving money by switching to LEDs, please share your stories with us! and have excellent selection and value in LED replacement lights.

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