Two years after the final phaseout of traditional
That’s a good question. The answer: yes and no.
Back in December of 2013 and January of 2014, when old 60-watt incandescents were officially phased out, there was a ton of fuss over the so-called "light bulb law". The media was running wild with the story, with CNN even publishing an obituary for the bulbs. And the public was in a tizzy, angry that the government was taking away their basic 25-cent incandescent bulbs.
But it’s 2016 and we’re still selling incandescent light bulbs here at Regency. Are we breaking the law?
What was banned? Are more light bulb phaseouts ahead?
In spite of some bad reporting a few years back, light bulbs using incandescent lighting technology were not banned by the government. More accurately, save for a few exceptions, any lamp failing to meet the energy standards set by EISA in 2007 could no longer be manufactured. Those lamps were, for the most part, tungsten-filament incandescents.
“The standards are technology neutral, which means any type of bulb can be sold as long as it meets the efficiency requirements. Common household light bulbs that traditionally use between 40 and 100 watts will use at least 27% less energy by 2014.”
In layman’s terms, if manufacturers wanted to sell incandescent light bulbs beyond 2013, they would have to muster up more energy-efficient technology. Today’s incandescent lamps are, on average,
Such advancements in efficiency have incandescents trending in the right direction, as the next hurdle EISA has put in the path of lighting manufacturers is yet ahead. In 2020, light bulbs will need to be 60-70 percent more efficient than the standard incandescent on the shelf while Bush was in the White House. Most, if not all, of today’s compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and
Does the 2020 standard set by EISA spell the end for incandescents? It’s tough to say for certain, but major price reductions in CFLs and LEDs have come in recent years. And, considering the drastic contrast
available today? incandescent bulbs are
The incandescent light bulbs that emerged as a response to the phaseouts of 2012-14 carry similar lumen outputs to their older counterparts for a typical reduction of 30 percent in wattage. As an example, the equivalent of an old 60-watt A19 incandescent uses 43 watts, on average. The equivalent of
There are a couple of caveats which should be noted here. For one, some aren’t happy with the light color (color temperature) of modern-day halogen-based incandescents, as halogen tends to emit cooler colors than the less-efficient tungsten did. Pre-EISA incandescents might have had a Kelvin temperature of 2400K or 2700K while today’s incandescents will often have a color of 3000+ K.
Secondly, as mentioned above, there are a few exceptions, or loopholes, in the switchover to EISA-standard incandescents. Certain applications – like heat lamps, for example – were excluded from needing to meet the new standards, leaving the incandescent light bulbs of old still on the market in a very limited fashion.
Incandescent bulbs vs. CFLs
Compact fluorescents were the first lamps to really barge into the market and gain a foothold against incandescents. They’ve always been much more energy efficient, but have a handful of cons that most businesses and consumers like to weigh into their decision-making process.
Are you looking for LED replacements for pin-based compact
First, CFLs contain mercury – a toxic metal which is bad for the environment and people. This means they must be recycled properly. Secondly, a lot of CFLs don’t dim, making them incompatible with dimmable fixtures you might have in your building or home. Thirdly, when compared with an incandescent, the color rendering index (CRI) of a CFL is quite limited. Lastly, these lamps come in a spiral shape, causing a lot of people to opt for a traditional bulb-shaped lamp to preserve certain aesthetics wherever the CFLs themselves are visible.
Learn more about compact fluorescents in our post, 'What are CFL bulbs and where should they be used?'
Comparing average household lamps – Incandescent vs. CFL
|Old incandescent||New (halogen) incandescent||CFL|
|Lumens (light output)||780||780||780|
|Wattage (energy usage)||60||42||10|
|Lumens per watt||13||18.5||78|
Incandescent bulbs vs. LEDs
LEDs continue to carve out a bigger and bigger territory in the lighting world. A significant part of that trend is tied to the technology’s noteworthy drop in price over the last handful of years, making them immensely more competitive. The other part of that? Energy efficiency, of course. The long lifespans of LEDs combined with their incredibly low energy usage rate give them a corner on the energy efficient lighting market. There is simply no comparison to LEDs in terms of energy efficiency alone.
But if you’re familiar with the calling card of LEDs – energy efficiency – you’re probably equally as familiar with their Achilles heel: cost. LEDs used to cost as much as 40 times more than modern incandescents but, as mentioned above, they’ve come down in price big time.
Choosing between LED products? Download our LED Buying Guide.
Today’s LEDs are maybe five or seven times more expensive than a comparably bright incandescent – two or three times pricier than CFLs. Technologically, however, they’re extremely advanced, with some coming with tuning ability for precise color rendering and others able to pump out foreign colors through colorized phosphors.
Comparing average household lamps – Incandescent vs. LED
|Old incandescent||New (halogen) incandescent||LED|
|Lumens (light output)||780||780||780|
|Wattage (energy usage)||60||42||5|
|Lumens per watt||13||18.5||156|
There you have it – all the facts.
Were all incandescent bulbs strictly banned by the federal government? No, they were made dramatically more energy efficient.
Are incandescent bulbs on the verge of being pushed out of the market? Maybe.
Can you still purchase incandescent bulbs? We have them here.
Are you looking to upgrade to more efficient LED bulbs? We have those, too.
Update: Researchers at MIT recently discovered an innovation which could make incandescent bulbs 80 percent more efficient –– greater than the efficiency levels of most of today's LEDs.