How do you spell c-r-o-n-y c-a-p-i-t-a-l-i-s-m?
As controversial light efficiency standards go into effect this month, the Interior Department is turning on new light-emitting diodes on the National Mall thanks to companies that want to showcase their effectiveness.
Light bulb manufacturer Osram Sylvania donated 174 LEDs — worth more than $100,000 — to illuminate the Mall from 3rd Street to 15th Street. Interior and the Department of Energy estimate that the switch from high-intensity discharge and compact fluorescent lighting will cut the lights’ energy usage as much as 65 percent…
The company has donated retrofit kits that allowed the LEDs to be installed in the Mall’s historic bronze street lamps. Pepco overhead line crews installed the bulbs for free. The National Park Service won’t have to replace them until they reach 50,000 hours — or, if on for 12 hours every day, more than 11 years. The old bulbs required replacing every few years — and probably did not die all at once, meaning they required staggered replacement.
The switch comes as the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 goes into effect, requiring traditional incandescents to use about 28 percent less electricity. Manufacturers had to bring 100-watt bulbs into compliance as of Jan. 1, and 75-watt, 60-watt and 40-watt bulbs will have to meet the standards over the next couple of years.
Tea party conservatives have railed against the standards, which they contend limit consumers’ choices. House Republicans were able to slip in a rider in last year’s omnibus that prohibits the Energy Department from enforcing the standards, but the provision did not stop the standards from going into effect.