As of Tuesday, Aug 1, 2023, a rule effectively banning the production and sale of common incandescent light bulbs went into effect in the U.S. The rule, 16 years in the making and finally passed by the Biden administration, raises the lumens per watt a light bulb should produce to 45.
Lumens are a measure of brightness.
The rule automatically outlaws most traditional incandescent bulbs because they only produce 15 lumens per watt.
The ban is expected to save billions of kilowatt-hours of electricity and millions of tons of carbon emissions each year.
This is also a nudge towards more efficient lighting solutions. Most LED bulbs, for example, produce at least 75 lumens per watt, or more, making them more energy efficient.
However, the rule does not affect all incandescent light bulbs. Stores can continue selling flood lights, plant lights, coloured lamps, bug lamps, black lights, appliance lights etc.
What is an incandescent light bulb?
An incandescent light bulb is a type of light bulb that works by heating a filament until it glows. The filament is made of a thin tungsten wire with a very high melting point.
When the filament is heated, it emits light. Incandescent light bulbs are the oldest type of light bulb and were once the most common type of light bulb in use.
However, more efficient light bulbs, such as CFLs and LEDs, have largely replaced them.
Why are incandescent light bulbs being banned?
Incandescent light bulbs are very inefficient. They only convert about 10% of the energy they use into light. The rest of the energy is wasted as heat.
This makes them a significant source of energy waste. Incandescent light bulbs also produce a lot of carbon emissions.
The production and disposal of incandescent light bulbs also contribute to environmental pollution.
What are the benefits of banning incandescent light bulbs?
The ban on incandescent light bulbs is expected to have several environmental benefits.
- Energy savings: Incandescent light bulbs are very inefficient. They only convert about 10% of the energy they use into light. The rest of the energy is wasted as heat. This makes them a major source of energy waste. The ban on incandescent light bulbs is expected to save billions of kilowatt-hours of electricity each year.
- Carbon emissions reductions: Incandescent light bulbs also produce a lot of carbon emissions. The production and disposal of incandescent light bulbs also contribute to environmental pollution. The ban on incandescent light bulbs is expected to reduce millions of tons of carbon emissions each year.
What are the alternatives to incandescent light bulbs?
There are several more efficient alternatives to incandescent light bulbs. These include CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) and LEDs (light-emitting diodes).
CFLs are about four times more efficient than incandescent light bulbs, and LEDs are about ten times more energy efficient. Most CFLs and LEDs also last much longer than incandescent light bulbs.
However, CFL bulbs are also on the chopping board, with a rule doubling the current minimum light bulb efficiency going into effect by the end of 2024.
The rule will effectively ban most CFL light bulbs with a lower lumen-watt ratio.
The ban on incandescent light bulbs is a positive step for the environment. It will save energy, reduce carbon emissions, and improve air quality. If you are still using incandescent light bulbs, it is time to switch to a more efficient alternative.