The time for retailers to lead on energy-efficient light bulbs is now

(EDF + Business, 19 Mar 2019) Right now, retailers are making many of the decisions that will determine what products will be on their shelves next year. One decision is whether to stop stocking inefficient lighting products in favor of more energy-efficient ones – such as LEDs – saving consumers money and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Months ago, this decision would have been an easy one, as new lighting efficiency regulations were slated to go into effect in January 2020.

Once implemented, these new standards would have raised the energy efficiency requirements for many household bulb types, saving consumers nearly $12 billion on their energy bills and avoiding greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 25 coal-burning power plants annually.

But the Trump administration is trying to weaken these regulations, creating confusion for retailers.

What will the final law of the land be? Retailers shouldn’t wait around to see – they should use their considerable market power to help preserve the transition to more energy-efficient lighting.

Given that consumers are showing growing preference for efficient LED bulbs, choosing to stock more energy-efficient lighting makes business sense. Additionally, this is a prime opportunity for retailers to demonstrate that they’re serious about acting on climate.

Trump administration rollbacks create regulatory uncertainty and risk for retailers. How did we get here?

For some background, this all started with the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) – the nation’s first standards for light bulbs – that President George W. Bush signed in 2007. The first phase of the lighting efficiency standards came into effect in 2012.

With documented benefits to consumers, the economy and the environment, Congress wanted to ensure that the EISA could weather any political transition. Therefore, important provisions were put in place to ensure that the second phase of lighting standards would be implemented by 2020. In addition, other legal provisions regarding energy efficiency standards are in place to prevent future administrations from weakening standards.

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EDF + Business, 19 Mar 2019: The time for retailers to lead on energy-efficient light bulbs is now