"I know light bulbs might not seem sexy," Mr. Obama said, "but this simple action holds enormous promise because 7 percent of all energy consumed in America is used to light our homes and our businesses."
He framed the efforts as part of his goal to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil through a variety of means, including through the cap and trade legislation that passed in the House on Friday.
"When we put aside the posturing and politics... a simple choice emerges," Mr. Obama said. "We can remain the world's leading importer of oil, or we can become the world's leading exporter of clean energy. That's our choice: Between a slow decline and renewed prosperity. Between the past and the future."
The president said the new look at light bulbs is starting at the White House.
"Secretary Chu is already taking a look at our light bulbs," he said.
Energy Secretary Steve Chu will also expand and accelerate the deployment of energy efficient technologies in new buildings, something that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act began, the president said.
He pointed to the state of California as an example of what stricter energy efficiency standards could achieve. In the late 1970's, California enacted tougher energy policies, which the president said, helped create millions of jobs. Today, he said, Californians consume 40 percent less energy per person than the national average.
"One of the fastsest, easiest and cheapest ways to make our economy stronger and cleaner is to make our economy more energy efficient," he said.
The American people, Mr. Obama said, "expect us to move forward right now" to create a clean energy economy.
To that end, the president praised the House for passing the climate change measure, which he said "will finally open the door to decreasing our dependence on foreign oil," and he added, "create new business, new industries and millions of new jobs... all without placing untenable burdens on the American people or business."
Mr. Obama said he is confident the Senate will also "choose to move this country forward."