Energy Efficient Light Bulbs in USA
There is some confusion over exactly what it means, so here is a simple explanation.
- You can still buy “normal” incandescent light bulbs. They are NOT banned.
- You are not forced to buy new CFL or LED lights if you don’t wish to.
- You do not have to ’stock-pile’ incandescent light bulbs.
- Incandescent light bulbs are now being phased out, and replaced by slightly more energy efficient light bulbs – still incandescent.
Why? Because incandescent bulbs are old technology and very inefficient (over 90% of the energy they use is converted to heat, not light).
The new light bulb standards try to reduce this inefficiency.
But I can’t get 100W bulbs any more!
Yes you can! They’re now 72W bulbs, and they’re just as bright as your old 100W bulbs.
Because the new regulations say that we must have more energy efficient light bulbs, the old 100W bulbs now use 72W instead of 100W, but still shine as brightly.
How will I know what I am buying?
New light bulbs are required to give more information on their packaging. As well as the lumens (brightness), the light bulbs will also display information on the bulb’s life expectancy, mercury content and appearance (e.g. warm, cool, yellow).
|W (watt)||A Watt is the amount of energy (electricity) used by the bulb. A 100W bulb uses 100 Watts of electricity.|
|Lumen||A lumen is the amount of light produced by a bulb – its brightness. The more lumens, the brighter the light.|
Look for the Lumens
It’s a little bit of a change, but you’ll gradually want to start looking for the lumens to help you choose the right bulb.
|100 Watt incandescent bulb||1600 lumens|
|60 Watt incandescent bulb||800 lumens|
|40 Watt incandescent bulb||450 lumens|
Using more energy efficient light bulbs will save you money by reducing the amount of electricity you use for lighting.
Is it only in the USA?
No. Light bulb standards are changing globally. In fact, most of the rest of the world has already banned incandescent bulbs altogether, because the alternatives (CFLs and LEDs) are so much more efficient.
I’m going to be very honest and say that I think it’s a real shame that the USA hasn’t followed the rest of the world and banned incandescent bulbs, because there are alternatives readily available.
Instead, by holding onto outdated 19th century technology, the energy savings, which could be large, will be considerably less.
It really is a pity.
The light bulb standards regulations are part of an energy Act signed by President Bush in 2007.
But other bulbs are expensive and the light is different!
Now that I’ve (hopefully) cleared up any confusion about energy efficient light bulbs and what’s available now, I’ll do a comparison between incandescent bulbs, CFLs and LEDs so you can make up your own mind about what to buy.
Other Lighting Articles – you might find these interesting
Example of LEDs (Video)
Photo Credit: Microsoft