On Dec. 19, 2007, President Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (HR6). The bill, which passed by a bipartisan vote of 314 to 100, according to the New York Times, implements some of the most sweeping energy initiatives since the oil embargoes of the 1970s, including the setting of higher fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks, and new efficiency requirements for household and government buildings. Some supporters of the bill were disappointed that the legislation did not go further by requiring utility companies to pursue renewable and alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal.

Although the law's principal focus is not directed at lighting, two of its provisions lighting-wise are extremely significant. First, the law moves to implement energy-efficient lighting by 30 percent, leading to a phase out of traditional general service incandescent and halogen light sources from 2012 to 2014. This change is expected to represent $13 billion in energy costs savings by 2020, but leaves many questions regarding the implications it will have for lamp sales and existing light fixtures, which require screw-based lamps. Yet, like all rules, there are exceptions. A long list of specialty lamps such as traffic signals, infrared, and shatter-resistant are excluded from the energy-efficient mandate. The second provision beginning in 2009, stops the production of 150W to 500W probe-start metal halide magnetic ballasted fixtures.

Significant items omitted from the act to facilitate its passage are the inclusion of more efficient residential energy codes as well as tax provisions that would have enabled the extension of the Commercial Buildings Deduction to Dec. 31, 2013. It currently is set to expire Dec. 31, 2008, but is likely to be revisted when Congress returns for its next session.

The act makes some attempt to promote research and innovation, establishing the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prizes for two light-emitting diode replacement lamps, one for 60W incandescents and one for PAR38s. A second initiative, the Twenty-First Century Lamp Prize, is geared toward a solid-state lighting product capable of meeting such criteria as 1200 lumens of light output, a color rendering index of 90, and a 25,000-hour service life. Each prize carries with it a significant $5 million purse. A summary report of the energy bill's provisions, as it pertains tolighting, is available through the Lighting Controls Association at www.aboutlightingcontrols.org.