On June 29, 2009, President Barack Obama and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced two key energy efficiency initiatives that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save American consumers billions of dollars in energy costs per year.

Beginning in 2012, "general-service" fluorescent lamps and incandescent reflector lamps, both commonly used in residential lighting applications, will be required to meet tighter energy conservation standards. General-service fluorescent lamps must use 15 percent less energy, while incandescent reflector lamps must use 25 percent less energy.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s economic analyses, the purchase price of each type of lamp would be higher but ultimately would result in lower energy-use costs for the majority of consumers. Calculated over the lifetime of each type of lamp, the energy efficiency gains would save up to $7.95 per lamp for higher-efficiency incandescent reflector lamps and up to $8.66 per lamp for general-service fluorescent lamps. From 2012 through 2042 the new lamp energy efficiency standards would prevent the emission of up to 594 tons of carbon dioxide, save consumers $1 billion to $4 billion annually, and save enough electricity to power every home in the United States for up to 10 months, according to DOE. This action also is expected to eliminate the need to build new power plants to supply up to 7.3 gigawatts of electricity. For full details on the new general-service fluorescent lamp and incandescent reflector lamp efficiency standards and test procedures, download a PDF of each full document here.

President Obama and Secretary Chu also announced $346 million in investments that will expand and accelerate the development, deployment, and use of energy-efficient technologies in all types of buildings, including new and existing homes, making them up to 80 percent more efficient or transforming them into net-zero energy buildings. Through this action, funding is provided for advanced building systems research, residential buildings development and deployment, commercial buildings initiatives, buildings and appliance market transformation, and solid-state lighting research and development. Watch video of the president and energy secretary's announcement here or read the president's remarks here.