This article was originally published in the September/October 1998 issue of Home Energy Magazine. Some formatting inconsistencies may be evident in older archive content.


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Home Energy Magazine Online September/October 1998


Utility Blitz Boosts Energy Star Torchieres

General Electric's long-awaited 67 watt 2-D lamp will be featured in a number of new Energy Star torchieres that will be introduced this fall. Some units will be fully dimmable.
When Home Energy first covered the halogen torchiere story (Bright Prospects for CFL Torchieres, Jan/Feb '97, p. 13), the news was pretty grim. Halogen torchieres had become so popular that they accounted for one of every ten light fixtures sold in the United States. Drawing 300 to 500 watts of power apiece, they had been implicated in dozens of fires and a number of deaths across the country. Regulatory progress on their safety was slow, and the Energy Star labeling program to promote energy efficient alternatives was still gearing up for its launch. The only fluorescent torchieres available were custom units costing hundreds of dollars.

What a difference 18 months have made. Today, safe, efficient, fluorescent torchieres from at least six different manufacturers are coming to market. Some are even priced in the $29 to $39 range-remarkably close to the price of their halogen counterparts. However, some of the least expensive fluorescent torchieres lack the multiple light levels or the performance characteristics needed to earn the Energy Star label.

To push the market toward the most efficient torchieres, utilities in California, the Pacific Northwest, and parts of Wisconsin have recently launched a multi-million dollar market transformation blitz during the second half of 1998. They provide incentives of $10 to $15 apiece for Energy Star torchieres that match the typical light output of halogens (3,500 lumens or more). Some of these products are already available in retail outlets. Affordable, fully dimmable models were not in stores at press time, but were expected by fall.

Perhaps the most innovative thing about this regional torchiere effort is its Internet component. Anyone who cannot locate a particular Energy Star torchiere in local stores may order it directly on the Web at Best of all, utility rebates will be automatically included in the price for qualifying customers in Northern California and potentially in other regions. The site will also provide educational information about fire safety and new product developments, and may eventually link to a store finder for participating retailers.

Log on and light up!

-Chris Calwell

Chris Calwell is president of Ecos Consulting in Durango, Colorado. He has been researching and writing about halogen torchieres since 1995.


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