Most incandescent light bulbs to be phased out; replaced with energy efficient bulbs

  • Published
  • By Brandice J. O'Brien
  • Staff Writer
Incandescent wattage light bulbs will soon be a thing of the past. Halogens, light-emitting diodes, or LEDS, and compact fluorescent lumen lights are the way of the future.

Beginning in 2012, 100-watt incandescent light bulbs will be phased out. By 2014, 40, 60, 75 and 100-watt bulbs will cease to exist commercially. In their place will be cost and energy-efficient replacements.

"It's a good thing. We're going to save energy and we're going to save money," said Britton Young, Tinker's Energy Team point-of-contact in the 72nd Air Base Wing Civil Engineer Directorate. "It will have a huge impact on the American economy. The expectation is consumers could save $40 billion from 2012, when this is implemented, to 2030."

Wattage bulbs will be replaced with lumens, another measure of light. For example, a 60-watt bulb is the equivalent of a 1,600-lumen bulb. Plus, consumers will be offered various levels of warmth - a soft light versus warm light.

New light bulbs will be offered in a variety of styles - CFL light bulbs are traditionally pigtailed shaped and LED bulbs have a bluish hue to them. A halogen bulb, the latest style to hit the market, is commonly referred to as the "designer's choice for lighting" because it doesn't have the pigtail shape, offers a bright, crisp light from the moment its switched on and lasts 50 percent longer than an incandescent light. Additionally, the bulb doesn't fade over its length of its life.

Up-front costs are expected to be more for a lumen bulb versus a wattage bulb, but Ms. Young said it will be quickly off-set in energy savings.

As is, a standard 60-watt incandescent light bulb will cost the average consumer 27 cents, but will likely need to be replaced seven times to match the life of a single compact fluorescent light bulb. Seven replacements will cost roughly $1.89.

"Between the replacement cost and energy cost, you would pay $34.39 extra over the life of a CFL bulb if you used incandescent," Ms. Young said.

If a consumer chooses a LED bulb instead, it would last approximately 13 years, based on average use of four hours a day, but cost roughly $40 up front. When compared to a traditional 60-watt incandescent light bulb, officials estimate using a LED bulb will save consumers $132 over the life of the LED bulb.

Following the extinction of 100-watt incandescent bulbs in 2012, 75-watt bulbs will be eliminated in 2013, and 40 and 60-watt bulbs will vanish in 2014.

"If you want to get ahead of the game, new bulbs are available now, just look for the energy-star logo on the package," Ms. Young said. "The package will show you the equivalent."

The change in light bulbs is the result of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which former President George W. Bush signed. The purpose of the act is to steer the U.S. toward energy independence and efficiency. Incandescent light bulbs producing 310 to 2,600 lumens of light will be phased out under this act. Essentially, it means incandescent light bulbs that produce less than 40 watts or more than 150 watts will remain in existence.

Within industry, linear and U-shaped fluorescent T-12 lights will also be phased out for T-8 lamps. Parabolic aluminized reflector, or PAR, lamps will be changed to meet Halogen efficiency levels or phased out entirely.

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