New Energy Bill Phases Out Incandescent Light Bulbs: Traditional Light Bulbs Face Extinction

Incandescent light bulbs face extinction with a new Energy Bill. First … HDTV and digital television has been made complicated. Now light bulbs are complicated, too.

Under a new law, all light bulbs must use 25% to 30% less energy than today’s products by 2012 to 2014. The phase-in will start with 100-watt bulbs in January 2012 and end with 40-watt bulbs in January 2014. By 2020, bulbs must be 70% more efficient.

Incandescent bulbs last an average seven months, but fluorescent bulbs burn six times longer. It also saves about $5 a year in electricity costs, paying for itself in as little as four months. But some experts doubt that the fluorescent lamps really save money.

General Electric (GE) is developing an incandescent that’s 30% more efficient than today’s bulbs that is expected to debut by 2010. Earl Jones, a GE senior counsel, says it likely will cost more than current bulbs but less than a fluorescent.

Light-emitting diodes that cost much more, but last about 12 years, are also being developed.

The Compact Fluorescent Bulbs have their disadvantages. The fluorescent light bulbs don’t work with three-way switches, dimmers, and there are some complications with mechanical timers. Some electric timers have a small amount of electricity running through the product even when the lamp is off. This makes the lamp continually try to start itself, which causes the Compact Fluorescent Lamp to have a short life.

The Compact Fluorescent Lamps also don’t work properly with dusk to dawn fixtures. Dusk-to-dawn photocell fixtures contain a silicon chip that converts radiant energy into electrical current. Many photocells do this in a way that is incompatible with Compact Fluorescent Lamp circuitry, which will cause short life.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps can also interfere with a variety of devices, including televisions, because they use the same wavelengths. If you find that they interfere, move the Compact Fluorescent Lamp away, or plug the electronic device into another outlet.

More info …
American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE)