It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here. As of January 1, 2014, it will no longer be legal to manufacture or import traditional 60-watt and 40-watt incandescent bulbs.
The phase-out was stipulated by The Energy Independence and National Security Act, a law passed way back in 2007 when George W. Bush was in office. In fact, Politicus USA reports that “when President Bush signed the bill into law on December 19, 2007, he praised the energy efficiency standards. The bill also includes revisions to improve energy efficiency in lighting and appliances. It adopts elements of the executive order I signed requiring federal agencies to lead by example in efficiency and renewable energy use.’”
So no angry comments about how treehugging liberals are destroying the light bulb industry, please.
Instead, let’s focus on how great this transition will be for our wallets, and by extension, the planet! Incandescent light bulbs are shockingly inefficient, turning about 90 percent of the energy they consume into heat, not light.
According to Noah Horowitz, Senior Scientist and Director of the Center for Energy Efficiency for the Natural Resource Defense Council, doing away with inefficient incandescent bulbs will save Americans $13 billion on their annual energy bills.
But, as I’m sure you’re aware, incandescent light bulbs tend to burn out at the most inconvenient times. If you’re one of nearly half of all Americans who’ve got these ancient luminaries in every lamp and fixture, now is the time to think about replacements. And no, I don’t mean hoarding incandescent bulbs, as some have suggested. Do you really love wasting money that much?
Below are a handful of smart alternatives to the incandescent bulbs now illuminating your home. Switch today and save BIG for years to come.
Philips SlimStyle LED – Currently under consideration for ENERGY STAR certification, the SlimStyle LED bulb (pictured above) reduces energy consumption by 85 percent and lasts 25 times longer than a traditional 60-watt incandescent. It’s even dimmable! Philips sent me one of these bulbs to test out in advance, and I have to say, I was impressed. It was brighter and delivered a softer white light than my CFLs while sporting a safer, lighterweight design (no glass to break!). The SlimStyle will be available exclusively at HomeDepot.com starting January 2, 2014, just in time for the final phase out.
CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) – When the eco-world first started to notice that light bulbs were wasting a bunch of energy, CFLs were the go-to alternative. Now, we know that LEDs are better and will last longer, but the high initial investment still puts them out of reach for most people. If you need something cheap and convenient, CFLs are now available in every grocery and convenience store, for just a buck or two more than incandescents. And if you don’t like the signature spiral shape, many now come in more familiar A-line varieties. Just remember, they can be hazardous to your health if broken, and are often hard to dispose of.
GE’s Energy-Efficient Soft White bulbs – If you’re completely devastated by the idea of switching to those newfangled CFLs or LEDs, GE’s Energy-Efficient Soft White bulbs will ease your transition. They look and light exactly like the bulbs you grew up with, only they use 28 percent less energy.
Image via Thinkstock