How Incandescent Bulbs Are Not Going Away and Are Getting More Efficient

Incandescent Light Bulb on Black Background

Lighting manufacturers are pushing back against widespread rumors that the federal government is banning incandescent light bulbs. Talk show hosts and some members of Congress are calling for the repeal of a 2008 law signed by President Bush that sets tougher standards for light bulbs beginning in 2012. They claim consumers would be forced to use less popular fluorescent bulbs. But bulb manufacturers say that claim is false.

Standard Incandescent Bulb

Leaving already? Not so fast.

The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) builds on the initial goals of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) in establishing and implementing a comprehensive energy strategy for the 21st century. Included in EISA (Title III, Sub-Title B, Section 321) is a provision for establishing new energy effiency standards for general service incandescent lamps (standard incandescent or halogen-type lamps).

The standards apply specifically to medium screw base bulbs in the 40W to 100W ranges – the primary bulbs used by consumers in their homes.

For example, the current 100W bulb today has an average rated lumen or light output of 1700 lumens. Under the new standards, after Jan 1, 2012, manufacturers will be required to stop selling the 100W version and instead offer a bulb with the same lumen output but at a maximum rated 72W. Similar 30% improvements in efficiency will apply to 75W, 60W and 40W bulbs to be phased in between 2013-2014.

Can manufacturers achieve these improvements with the conventional incandescent form factor? The answer is yes, and the products are already on the market.

By incorporating halogen technology and making other modifications, the higher efficiency bulbs will look and operate exactly like the current incandescent bulbs and provide illumination that appears the same. The only difference – 30% less energy required.

Follow this link to get more details on EISA incandescent bulb standards.

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Dave Burtner

Dave has been active in the lighting industry since 1994. Formerly a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and certified by the National Council On Qualifications for Lighting Professionals, Dave now writes blog posts, lighting tips and provides lighting product assistance for the Topbulb website.