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Obama, Chu Unveil New Lighting Rules and
Release $346M for Energy Efficient Buildings

by Staff, June 30, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With Energy Secretary Steven Chu by his side, U.S. President Barack Obama detailed stricter new lighting standards and promised the swift release of $346 million in Recovery Act funds to boost energy efficiency in new and existing commercial buildings and homes.

The president's move on Monday, coming on the first business day after the House passed the climate bill, kept efforts to reduce U.S. energy consumption in the headlines.

"I know light bulbs may not seem sexy, but this simple action holds enormous promise because 7 percent of all the energy consumed in America is used to light our homes and businesses," Obama said of the new rules that set higher thresholds for energy efficiency in lamps and lighting equipment.

The standards were issued on Friday. Products made in the U.S. or imported for use in the country are required to meet the new parameters starting in 2012. According to the Department of Energy, the changes in lamps and lighting equipment would:

The DOE's release of $346 million in stimulus funds will go toward development and deployment of more energy smart buildings -- and the technology and equipment to support them.

In the U.S., commercial buildings and homes account for about 40 percent of the energy consumption -- more than any other economic sector -- and for a similar percentage of CO2 emissions in the country. Existing structures present a ripe target for energy efficiency efforts and retrofits, the DOE noted, with three-quarters of the 81 million buildings in stock having been constructed before 1979.

The Recovery Act money for energy efficient structures will be allotted in five major areas:

Obama, Chu Unveil New Lighting Rules and Release $346M for Energy Efficient Buildings, June 30, 2009

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