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  • Allison Stalker

Last Day for Inefficient Incandescent Light Bulbs

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Starting tomorrow, January 1, inefficient 40 and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs will no longer be allowed to be imported or manufactured in the U.S. This follows the phase-out of 75 and 100-watt incandescent bulbs over the past two years. These types of bulbs are highly inefficient, wasting about 90% of their energy as heat instead of light.

This comes under the Energy Independence and Security Act enacted under the Bush administration in 2007. Technically, this act set new efficiency standards that incandescent light bulbs had no chance of meeting. Therefore, the bulbs have been phased out.

This transition should save Americans $13 billion annually on their energy bills, according to Noah Horowitz, the Senior Scientist and Director of the Center for Energy Efficiency for the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC).

Horowitz wrote on his blog about the three major types of bulbs consumers now have to choose from:

“New and improved incandescents that use 28 percent less energy, and CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) and LEDs (light-emitting diodes) that provide energy savings of at least 75 percent and last a lot longer.

In fact, these standards requiring improved efficiency have led to more lighting innovation over the past five years than we saw during the 100-plus years since Edison invented the light bulb!”

The NRDC has said that if compact fluorescents or LED lights were in all of the light bulb sockets in the U.S., 30 coal plants’ worth of power could be saved. This would cause a substantial decrease in mercury and carbon emissions from power plants. This will take some time; the old incandescents can still be sold as long as they are not imported or manufactured in the U.S. after January 1, 2014.

In 2011, Congress voted to defund the money the Department of Energy needed to enforce the light bulb standards for one year. However, the industry knew it was eventually coming and adapted anyway. The new standard will improve energy efficiency while saving money, a win-win for consumers and the environment



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