Old-Fashioned Light Bulbs Are Handed a Death Sentence

Advocates praise move to wind down use of '19th-century technology'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 26, 2022 2:05 PM CDT
Feds Are Scrapping Old-Fashioned Light Bulbs
"The lighting industry is already embracing more energy efficient products, and this measure will accelerate progress to deliver the best products to American consumers and build a better and brighter future," Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statemen.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

(Newser) – The Biden administration is scrapping old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs, speeding an ongoing trend toward more efficient lighting that officials say will save households, schools, and businesses billions of dollars a year. Rules finalized by the Energy Department will require manufacturers to sell energy-efficient light bulbs, accelerating a longtime industry practice to use compact fluorescent and LED bulbs that last 25 to 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs, the AP reports. The Trump administration had slowed an earlier phaseout of incandescents, saying it was targeting rules that burden businesses.

Once the new rules are fully in place next year, consumers should save nearly $3 billion per year on their utility bills, the Energy Department said. The rules are projected to cut planet-warming carbon emissions by 222 million metric tons over the next 30 years, an amount equivalent to emissions generated by 28 million homes in one year, officials said. The new rules expand energy-efficiency requirements to more types of light bulbs and ban the sale of bulbs that produce less than 45 lumens per watt—a measure of how much light is emitted for each unit of electricity.

In 2020, about 30% of light bulbs sold in the United States were incandescent or halogen incandescent bulbs, according to industry groups. Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, said that while retailers will be able to sell inefficient bulbs until July 2023, "responsible chains ought to get them off their shelves as soon as possible and certainly by the end of this year.'' Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy nonprofit, said LED bulbs "have become so inexpensive that there’s no good reason for manufacturers to keep selling 19th-century technology that just isn’t very good at turning electrical energy into light."

(Read more light bulbs stories.)

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