On Jan. 27, the California Energy Commission adopted first-in-the-nation energy standards for the next generation of light bulbs.

The standards cover screw-in LED light bulbs a consumer would purchase for almost any household use. They also cover more specialized bulbs, called small-diameter directional lamps, used in commercial applications, such as track lighting. The standards focus on efficiency while maintaining performance.

Bulbs that meet the new standards are already available to consumers.

With these new standards, CED estimates consumers will save more than $4 billion in aggregate over the first 13 years and conserve enough electricity to power all the households in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties (about 400,000 average homes).

The adopted standards will save consumers money in both electricity and bulb-replacement costs. For a $4 investment in the more efficient, small-diameter directional lamps, CED estimates consumers will save nearly $250 in reduced energy and bulb-replacement costs when averaged over 11 years. The lifetime savings for general purpose LEDs range from $4.50 to $12 and will likely grow as purchase prices continue to decline.

Small-diameter directional lamps

Small-diameter directional lamps are often used at commercial sites, such as stores and museums, for track lighting. In California, about 16 million of these bulbs are in use. The standards cover bulbs with a diameter of 2.25 inches or less and will go into effect Jan. 1, 2018.

The new standards will require minimum lifetime of 25,000 hours for each product. LED bulbs are the only products that meet this lifetime standard.


The standards for general purpose LEDs include omnidirectional, directional and decorative bulbs, as well as LEDs designed for retrofitting the covered socket types. LED bulbs consume less energy than other types of light bulbs and have a longer lifespan, making the lifetime energy savings far greater than the incremental cost.

The standards for LEDs include efficiency and quality improvements to initially take effect Jan. 1, 2018. More amendments to strengthen efficiency and limit power in standby mode take effect July 1, 2019.

CED’s lighting standards are prompted by legislation that calls for energy reduction in home lighting by 50 percent and at businesses by 25 percent from the 2007 levels by 2018.