If you live in California, you can say goodbye to some incandescent and halogen light bulbs.
The California Energy Commission banned the sale of inefficient light bulbs starting January 1, 2020.
This decision didn't just suddenly happen. It's the result of years of work to make the state more energy efficient.
Even if you don't live in California, this light bulb ban is something to watch. California and several other states, cities, and districts sued the federal government over efficiency standards. Plus, several other states are already enforcing restrictions on lighting products.
Let's explain the series of steps that got us to this point.
President George W. Bush signed EISA (Energy Independence and Security Act), an effort to reduce lighting that's energy inefficient.
2012 - 2014
The first tier of EISA restrictions phased out 60-watt incandescent bulbs nationwide.
California adopted the next tier of EISA restrictions, requiring A-shape GSLs (general service lamps) to achieve a minimum efficacy of 45 lumens per watt.
The Department on Energy (DOE) rolled back restrictions on GSLs. 15 state attorneys general sued the DOE – including California, New York City, and Washington, DC. Large environmental groups sued as well.
California Energy Commission (CEC) voted to move forward with further restriction of the sale of general service lamps. This falls under Title 20.
The Department of Energy officially reverses standards for general service lamps and preempts ALL states from enforcing standards.
January 1, 2020
New restrictions on general service lamps started in California.
Two lighting associations dismissed their lawsuit over California's light bulb ban, so the state moved forward with restrictions. Here is a statement from the CEC.
Which light bulbs are banned in California?
Here’s the easiest way to put it: Starting January 1, 2020, all general service lamps (GSLs) must have an efficacy of 45 lumens per watt to be legally sold in California. Lumens per watt (LPW) is a unit of efficacy, or the rate at which a lamp is able to convert power (watts) into light (lumens).
Does this sound like jargon? The bottom line is that light bulbs are now required to produce a minimum amount of light per watt used or they cannot be sold in California.
That standard has been enforced on A-line GSLs since January 2018 (this is the shape you typically think of putting in a table lamp). But now, the restriction expands to all general service lamps, including reflector lamps and candle-shaped light bulbs.
Here's how the newest restrictions practically apply to you: almost all halogen and incandescent light bulbs will no longer meet the standards in California. Apart from a few exceptions, you'll only be able to buy CFLs and LEDs.
We work hard to make lighting easier, so here is a list of products that will now be restricted based on information from our manufacturer partners and our understanding of the regulations:
- Most reflectors: R14, R16 (R20s under 310 lumens are allowed)
- All PARs: PAR20, PAR30, and PAR38
- All MR11 and MR16: bi-pin and GU10
- All high lumen A-shaped lamps
- All A19 halogen
- A19 3-way incandescent lamps
- Rough service, shatter resistant, and vibration service lamps (such as A19 silicone coated)
- Décor lamps (B-shape, C-shape, F-shape, G16.5, G25, G30) between 310 and 3300 lumens
- Candelabra and intermediate base lamps between 310 and 3600 lumens
- Most T10s
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Sometimes you need that heat-resistant incandescent light bulb, like in ovens. Overall, 26 lamp types will be exempt. That includes specialty light bulbs, like appliance lamps, black light lamps, bug lamps, colored lamps, and more.
The restrictions are fully outlined in Title 20, Section 1004. Here is a link to the new Title 20, Section 1004, sent to us by the CEC.
The energy commission also posted a frequently asked questions section for general service lamps.
Which light bulbs can be sold in California?
Starting January 2020, California’s restrictions limit general service lamps to mainly LEDs and CFLs. CFLs were created as a more energy-efficient option over incandescent and halogen light bulbs. Then, LEDs emerged on the market as an even more energy-efficient option.
However, not all LEDs and CFLs are Title 20 compliant. We explain the other restrictions for lighting products in this blog post.
The restrictions do not currently include other types of lighting, like linear fluorescents and HIDs.
It’s important to check to make sure a product can be sold in California before you buy. To simplify the process, we created a filter for our online store. We'll continue to work on keeping this filter updated with the latest regulations.
Benefits of the changes
California expects major energy changes because of the light bulb restrictions.
To help give you a little perspective, let's compare the wattage between an incandescent light bulb and an LED light bulb. A standard A-line incandescent bulb uses 50 watts. That's the measure of power the light bulb consumes. An LED A-line bulb uses 9 watts — a 41 watt savings for each bulb.
The California Energy Commission predicts these standards alone will save 4,000 - 13,600 gigawatts. What does that mean in dollar amounts? A predicted savings between $736 million and $2.4 billion.
Our goal is to stay up to date on all of the industry changes. We will watch these light bulb restrictions in California, as well the lawsuit challenging the rollback of EISA standards.
As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.