Apr 9 - Lighting Efficiency & Pollution Prevention Bill Advances

AB 1109 by Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) passed out of its first committee today with a vote of 9-3. The bill calls on the California Energy Commission to set performance standards designed to substantially reduce California's energy consumption for lighting over the next 10 years â€" with a goal of improving the efficiency of indoor lighting by 50% and commercial and outdoor lighting by 25%. The bill also requires manufacturers to reduce levels of toxic mercury and lead found in lighting products and provide for their proper recycling and disposal.

"California has long been a leader in energy efficiency, recycling, and most recently efforts to combat global climate change," said Huffman. "AB 1109 builds on that legacy of leadership by addressing one of the greatest unnecessary producers of greenhouse gasses â€" inefficient lighting technologies. By passing and implementing this bill we could reduce CO2 emissions by six million metric tons per year, as well as save California residential and business ratepayers more than $3 billion annually in avoided energy costs."

Increasing lighting efficiency will also significantly reduce other sources of pollution associated with energy generation, including Nitrous Oxide (NOx), Sulfur Dioxides (SOx) and Mercury emissions. According to the California Energy Commission, roughly 20% of California’s current electric energy demand is provided by coal-fired power plants. Coal-fired power plants are the single largest source of mercury air pollution, accounting for roughly 40 percent of all mercury emissions nationwide. Another source of mercury emissions in the environment is the illegal disposal of mercury containing fluorescent lamps. Mercury levels vary significantly by lamp manufacturer. Mercury is a highly toxic metal that, once released into the atmosphere, settles in lakes and rivers, where it moves up the food chain to humans. An extremely potent neurotoxin, one tablespoon of mercury is enough to pollute a 20 acre lake beyond acceptable health standards.

"AB 1109 proposes a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to energy conservation and pollution reduction for lighting," said Mark Murray, Executive Director of Californians Against Waste, a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization and sponsor of the bill. "By taking this step, California can conserve resources and protect the environment in this state as well as create a model for other state’s and the nation."