Push-Pull PoliciesIn simplest terms we have policies which push consumers out of the least efficient bulbs and pull them to more efficient ones. The pulling towards more efficiency is done in at least 3 ways:
- Research into more efficient bulbs. E.g. LEDs which recently won the Nobel prize.
- Energy Star Labeling is given only to bulbs which are significantly more efficient than average1)The level of efficiency required continues to increase.
- Subsidies are given directly for consumer purchases of high efficiency bulbs by some utilities and/or state governments. In Arizona it is an extremely random process where by the utilities subsidize some bulbs at some retailers but it is hard to ever know which stores, which bulbs and for how much :(.2)This is the list of participating retailers for the entire metro Phoenix area!
Current Lighting Policies are Anti-PoorUnfortunately, current policies promoting lighting efficiency are not truly Sustainable policies, because rather than benefiting those less fortunate they actually ask them to shoulder an increased burden. Incandescent bulbs are cheap and ubiquitous and long timeline paybacks are pointless to someone who is struggling to survive day to day. These affordable bulbs are being taken away. Meanwhile, the bulbs which are being subsidized are still at least 10x more expensive than what used to be the cheapest bulbs on the market. This is doubly unfortunate because a policy which gets LED bulbs into poor households could for a one time expense, reduce energy demand and save poor families money every month for more than a decade. If we gave the 15 million poorest household 5 LED bulbs at a cost of $10 each5)One would hope the government could negotiate a better price than the retail market but we must include some administrative costs, though it could easily piggyback on current government programs--e.g. a light bulb with your food stamps. That would bring us in at a cost of $750 million but would save these families $450 million every single year for at least a decade! Lighting policy is reasonably successful but it is time to go the extra mile and enact policies to Achieving Sustainability!
The Series: Achieving Sustainability in Lighting
- For Lighting, Sustainability is within Reach: But is demand saturated?
- Achieving Sustainability with Technology: the Exceptional Case of Lighting"
- When will we be LED to Sustainable Lighting?
- Bush Era Law is Helping to Achieve Sustainability in Lighting
- A Vision for Sustainable Lighting
Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↑||The level of efficiency required continues to increase.|
|2.||↑||This is the list of participating retailers for the entire metro Phoenix area!|
|3.||↑||As always there are exceptions--many, many types of bulbs were exempted.|
|4.||↑||Compare this to trying to improve car efficiency for vehicles that will be in use for up to two decades. Or buildings which easily last a century!|
|5.||↑||One would hope the government could negotiate a better price than the retail market but we must include some administrative costs, though it could easily piggyback on current government programs--e.g. a light bulb with your food stamps.|