RIP, Incandescent Light Bulbs. Welcome, Energy Efficiency.
Happy new year! Did you know that in America, the start of 2014 officially marks the death of the incandescent light bulb? You didn’t? That’s okay, you’re certainly not alone. According to a recent survey, only 4 out of 10 US consumers were aware that the 40- and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs are officially being phased out in 2014. Which is sort of surprising, considering that 40- and 60-watt incandescent bulbs are the most popular light bulbs currently on the market.
But now, it’s no longer legal for light bulb manufacturers to produce new 40- and 60-watt incandescent bulbs. It’s not illegal for retailers to sell existing bulbs, and it’s not illegal for you to buy existing bulbs. But no new bulbs can be made or imported into America, as of January 1st 2014.
As it turns out, this all started back in 2007, when then-president George W. Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). Among other things, EISA required that low-efficiency incandescent light bulbs would slowly be phased out of production unless they were able to meet energy-reduction requirements. They were not, and thus the government started implementing the phase-out in 2012, beginning with the discontinuation of all 100-watt bulbs. The demise of the 75-watt bulb swiftly followed in 2013, and now, in 2014, it’s time for the 40- and 60-watts to follow suit.
Now that the supply line of America’s most popular light bulbs has been cut, some consumers are beginning to stockpile the seemingly-precious resource. People favor incandescents because they’re familiar, and they’re cheap upfront. But the truth is, 90% of the energy they produce is converted to heat instead of light – and that’s a huge waste of money. These traditional bulbs are considered highly luminously inefficient. But still, they are traditional. And apparently for many Americans, change comes hard.
For those who are ready to embrace the future and make the move to cleaner, greener, high-efficiency lighting, there are a few different options already available in the current lighting market.
Halogen incandescents are more efficient, modern incandescent lights. These are the incandescents that do meet the EISA energy reduction requirements. They’re a step up from traditional incandescents, but not a big one.
Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, use a semiconductor as a light source. These high-tech bulbs are one of the very most energy-efficient light sources, but they’re a bit more expensive as well.
Compact fluorescent lights are widely available and relatively inexpensive, as far as high-efficiency lighting goes. They use a quarter as much energy as traditional incandescents, and last 10 times as long.
We can expect to see the number and diversity of high-efficiency lighting options skyrocket in the coming years, as this government-led phase out creates a higher demand for technological innovation and creativity.
Image credit: Edwin Torres Photography via Flickr