DOE plans consumer-education initiative on energy-saving lighting

The DOE will work with leaders in the retail and manufacturing segments to educate consumers on green lighting options including LED-based SSL.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) used its SSL Market Introduction Workshop in Philadelphia as a venue to preview a new consumer-education campaign to promote green lighting options. The DOE will partner with GE, Philips, Cree, Osram Sylvania, Home Depot, Costco Wholesale, and Grainger to promote LED-based solid-state lighting (SSL) and other energy-saving lighting options.

The DOE is planning the initiative to coincide with upcoming changes in light-bulb regulation. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 will begin to phase out incandescent bulbs in 2012 – beginning with the 100W lamp and then continuing with lower wattage bulbs on a progressive basis over a two-year period.

According to the DOE press release, "The ultimate effect of phasing out inefficient light sources will be significant national energy savings and a shrunken carbon footprint. However, without an effective consumer education process, these new performance levels could cause considerable confusion."

The point that the DOE is making is that consumers will need to understand a new figure of merit in place of wattage as an indicator of light output. Indeed wattage has never been a direct measure of light output and new products such as SSL replacement lamps will user a fraction of the wattage or power used by incandescent lamps.

The DOE plans to work with the lighting industry to educate the public on lumens as a measure of light output. The new campaign will also seek to define other benefits of new lighting technologies including for instance the long life promised by SSL.

Expect more details on the education campaign in the coming months. The DOE will formally launch the initiative this fall. It expects other partners to join what's an impressive group of brand names from both the retail market and the component and lighting manufacturing segment.

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