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Illumination & Displays

Edison descendants say don't repeal lighting standards

SPIE Newsroom
11 July 2011

Descendants of Thomas Edison have expressed their opposition to a House of Representatives measure that would repeal lighting efficiency standards in order to save traditional incandescent light bulbs.

Three of Edison's great-grandchildren and one grand nephew have commented to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) that H.R. 2417 would be a step backward. The measure would repeal portions of a 2007 energy bill that passed with broad support and was signed into law by President George W. Bush.

Opponents of the rollback point out that the new lighting standards would save the country more than $12.5 billion annually when fully implemented in 2020. David Edison Sloane, great-grandson of Thomas Edison, said that his grandfather would have seen the importance of implementing new technology.

"Edison would be inventing a better bulb right now, and he would plan to generate a lot of new jobs and big profits as well as better light," he said.

Another great-grandson, Barry Edison Sloane, said the inventor of the light bulb would not have wanted to stand still, recognizing that "the wave of the future--profits--is to make it better, cheaper and, yes, cleaner and more efficient."

Meanwhile, Lighting Sciences Corporation Jim Haworth appealed to Congress not to remove the standards. "Lighting is the low-hanging fruit in reducing energy consumption: it accounts for 19% of the world's energy use, and in the United States, 22%; public and commercial buildings represent 60% of the power used for lighting; up to 80% of offices are lit by outdated and inefficient systems." Haworth said a repeal would stifle innovation and increase air pollution in addition to adding to energy bills. 

The House is expected to vote on the measure by early Tuesday, July 12.

Press release from NRDC
Lighting Science Group press release
House to vote on light bulb repeal (New York Times blog)