December 30, 2011

Future Dims For Incandescent Bulbs

Thomas Edison´s most popular invention, the incandescent lightbulb may soon be fading into history. Efficiency standards targeting the traditional home bulb will gradually phase out the 131-year-old creation in favor of new technologies that use at least 25 percent less energy, reports Wendy Koch for USA Today.

A major reason for the new standards, says Jacklyn Pardini of Lowe´s, is that “people are looking for more energy-efficient options.”

Beginning on January 1st, the traditional 100-watt bulb will no longer be manufactured, followed in January 2013 with the 75-watt version and in 2014 with the 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs.

Although the bulbs cannot be manufactured, stores will be allowed to sell any remaining stock. California has implemented these standards last year and it took several months for the 100-watt bulbs to exit stores.

“We expect the same at the national level,” says Noah Horowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.

Bill Hamilton of Home Depot predicts, based on the amount of remaining stock, “We´ll still have 100-watt incandescents on our shelf through June.”

The replacement of many of these old-style bulbs is spurring growth in LED lighting. Lighting Science Group, which makes LEDs, says it doubled its revenue from LED sales in the last year and expects “exponential growth next year” regardless of what Congress does, says Jim Haworth, the company´s CEO.

Congress´ bill did not address the other part of the lighting standards: labeling. The Federal Trade Commission, effective Sunday, requires that all newly made or imported bulbs carry labels on the front and back of packages that list brightness (or lumens), estimated yearly cost and life span as well as its color (or light appearance).


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