Big lighting changes are ahead in 2020. More states are adding light bulbs restrictions, essentially eliminating incandescent and halogen light bulbs.
What does that mean for you? And which states are involved?
We'll get more into detail throughout this post, but if you live in the following states, this articles applies to you:
The states all lay out the same requirement: general service light bulbs must have a minimum efficacy of 45 lumens per watt by January 1, 2020.
Without all the jargon, that means light bulbs must provide more light with less power, or they cannot legally be sold in the listed states. The products also have to go through specific testing measures.
Here is the most important thing to note: The restrictions will eliminate most incandescent and halogen light bulbs, limiting the market to mainly fluorescent and LED light bulbs.
Before you read the restrictions in your state, we recommend reviewing the following terms. Click to jump ahead and read more about each one.
California has led the way on energy efficiency for the last decade. The state was the first to implement restrictions on A-shape GSLs (general service lamps) in 2018, unless they achieved a minimum efficacy of 45 lumens per watt.
Starting January 2020, all GSLs (general service lamps) must have a minimum efficacy of 45 lumens per watt. Here is a summary of California's ruling.
California's restrictions are outlined in what the state calls Title 20. We have a blog post explaining more in detail.
If you're looking for Title 20 compliant products, click here to use our filter for our online store.
Colorado signed light bulb restrictions into law in May 2019. It also says general service lamps must meet or exceed the efficacy standard of 45 lumens per watt, starting January 1, 2020.
Colorado lists several exemptions in the law, which mirror the federal standards that were supposed to go into effect in 2020. Here is a link if you'd like to review.
Colorado also lists possible punishment if you do not comply with the law. The state attorney general can fine up to $2,000 per violation.
To find products available in Colorado, click here to use our filter for our online store.
Nevada's governor signed bill AB54 into law in May 2019. The state had a previous light bulb ban of a minimum efficacy of 25 lumens per watt, but the new law raises that to a minimum efficacy of 45 lumens per watt.
The bill does not lay out specific restrictions, but says "specialty lighting" or "lighting necessary to provide illumination for persons with special needs" will not be included in the ban.
The state's Director of the Office of Energy has final say on what can and cannot be included in the definition of a GSL.
To find products available in Nevada, click here to use our filter for our online store.
Vermont is different from other states because its legislation was adopted back in 2017.
Lawmakers wrote in the law that Vermont would still ban the sell of certain light bulbs starting January 1, 2020 even if the federal government did not move forward with EISA.
The state says it will follow the standard outlined in EISA of a minimum efficacy of 45 lumens per watt.
To find products available in Vermont, click here to use our filter for our online store.
Washington state's light bulb restrictions are slightly different from other states. In the law signed by the governor in May 2019, it bans the sell of light bulbs manufactured on or after January 1, 2020 that do not meet the minimum efficacy of 45 lumens per watt.
The law refers to the federal government's definition of general service lamp established in 2017.
Washington state also talks about another lighting ban on high CRI fluorescent lamps. Right now, that law will go into effect in 2023, but could be implemented in 2022 if California implements an earlier ban. (We will continue to follow that, too.)
What is a GSL (general service lamp)?
A general service lamp is traditionally an incandescent or halogen light bulb that is used in general lighting applications, but can now include fluorescent and LED light bulbs.
Each state may have slight variations on what is or is not included in the definition of a general service lamp, so we are going to stick with the guidelines set forth by the federal government in 2017 for the definition of a general service lamp. (This is the same definition which was rolled back by the Department of Energy in 2019, so it is not applicable to other states.)
The definition above includes the following products:
- Some incandescent lamps
- Some compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
- Some LED lamps
- ANSI bases
- Lumen output between 310 - 4,000
These are some of the exemptions:
- Linear fluorescent lamps
- Specialty MR lamps
- Appliance lamps
- Sign service lamps
- Plant light lamps
For a complete list, please reference each state's definition.
What is lumens per watt?
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).
A watt is a unit of power. When you think of watts, think about how much energy a light bulb is consuming.
A lumen is the amount of visible light output, or the amount of light produced by a light bulb.
When you bought your traditional incandescent light bulb, many people paid attention to wattage as a measurement of how bright a light bulb would be. Now, especially with a large amount of LED products on the market, the focus is on lumens. Light bulbs can now produce more light (lumens) with less energy (wattage). So lumens per watt is becoming a more common measurement in the move towards more energy-efficient lighting.
What is EISA?
The first round of EISA restrictions rolled out between 2012 - 2014. That officially eliminated the 60 watt incandescent light bulb.
A second round of EISA restrictions was supposed to take effect on January 1, 2020. It would have required everyday light bulbs to use 65 percent less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs, but still deliver the same amount of light. However, the Department of Energy (DOE) rolled back the requirement by changing the definition of a GSL. Click here for the DOE's ruling.
Questions about incandescent light bulbs
If you have any questions about which products about which incandescent or halogen light bulbs are restricted in your state, please do not hesitate to contact us.