ADVERTISEMENT

No ban on incandescent light bulbs

  • Blog Post by:
  • April 12, 2010 - 9:02 AM

There is no ban on incandescent light bulbs.

That's right. And it is not true that you will not be able to buy incandescent light bulbs starting in 2012.

Don't believe me? Take a look at the federal Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.  It's the bill, signed by President Bush, that supposedly bans incandescent light bulbs:

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_bills&docid=f:h6enr.txt.pdf

The word "ban" isn't there. What is there, is a set of standards for making light bulbs more efficient phased in from 2012 to 2014. 

Look carefully and you'll also see a whole list of exceptions including: 3-way light light bulbs, 40-watt appliance bulbs and other specialty bulbs, 22 exceptions in all.

O.k., so the bill doesn't say "ban," but many claim that the standards effectively bans incandescent, because light bulbs today can't meet them. So we're being forced to buy compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).

That's not exactly right, either.

Incandescent bulbs, as they have been made for generations, were very wasteful. Who cared? We had lots of energy and it was cheap. Not anymore.  The incandescent bulbs of old won't meet the standards. But it doesn't mean you will be forced to use CFLs to light your house. You can buy incandescent light bulbs now, ones that meet the standard.  

Manufacturers now offer a high-efficiency version of the incandescent light bulb for the general duty 60-watt and 100-watt light bulbs: No curly pig tail. No hazardous mercury.  The bulbs use a filament inside a bulb that looks like the familiar old  light bulb .  And their wattages might make more sense, too. Because they are so efficient, however, you'll be using a 40-watt where you use a 60-watt and 70-watt where you used 100-watt, and get the same amount of light.

They are called halogen, and I found them at my local homes store under brand names Philips, they call their's Halogena, and GE.

The Halogena I bought was an easy-to-use screw-in light bulb that came on immediately, no warm up, and it's fully dimmable.

They're just the beginning. The bill is meant to prod manufacturers to improve their products. They are. More and more light bulbs that meet the energy standards are being introduced, including LED light bulbs. They're more costly than the light bulbs we remember, but prices will fall.  (Look at the price of CFLs, for example.)  Besides, these new bulbs cost less to operate and, because they last longer, you'll be buying fewer bulbs.The price of the efficient bulbs could end up being very close to the cost of the older version.    

For folks who dislike compact fluorescent lights, you don't have to hoard incandescents or try to use 3-way bulbs to light your house. Things are changing. The CFL seems to be king right now, but not for long, CFLs are but a stepping stone in our transition to lighting's future. Some day, we'll  look back and say, "remember those funny-looking old fluorescent light bulbs?"

.

© 2014 Star Tribune