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End of the 75W Incandescent Light Bulb

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End of the 75W Incandescent Light Bulb

January 1, 2013 will mark the end of the manufacturing  of the 75W incandescent light bulb in the United States as prescribed by The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. A year ago, the same law  ended the manufacturing of 100W Incandescent light bulbs. If you’d like to read the act entire act, you can find it at Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, but be warned, it’s over 300 pages of complex language covering many energy related issues. If you just want to read the section defining light bulb manufacturing standards, look for Subtitle B – Lighting Energy Efficiency – Section 321. I’ve included the table below, from the Act, that defines the minimum efficiency standards:

New Minimum Efficiency Standards

Rated Lumen Ranges

Typical Current Lamp   Wattage

Maximum Rate Wattage

Minimum Rated Lifetime

Effective Date

California Effective   Date

1490-2600

100

72

1,000 hours

1/1/2012

1/1/2012

1050-1489

75

53

1,000 hours

1/1/2013

1/1/2013

750-1049

60

43

1,000 hours

1/1/2014

1/1/2014

310-749

40

29

1,000 hours

1/1/2014

1/1/2014

The act limits only the manufacturing of low efficiency light bulbs but not their sale so you can always buy those that are remaining on the market but I wouldn’t recommend it since they use dramatically more electricity for the same level of brightness than other technologies. Energy consumption, for a given brightness, is how acceptable bulbs are defined in the act.

We’ll be learning a new way of thinking about which bulb to purchase as defined by the lumens, a unit of measure defining the  brightness of the bulb as compared to choosing bulbs based on wattage which is the amount of energy they use in an hour of operation.  When most bulbs were incandescent this made sense since you always got the same amount of brightness for the electricity used. Now we have compact fluorescents and LED bulbs that give you the same level of brightness for 1/3 and 1/5 the amount of power resulting in significant savings on your power bill.

You may have heard that congress chose not to actively enforce the law but the changes still occurred thanks to the efforts of light bulb manufacturers. They accomplished this by not providing the Department of Energy (DOE) any funding to enforce the law. It’s in the manufacturers best interest to sell new technologies that benefit the home owner so even though Congress didn’t require it, they are proceeding to stop manufacturing the incandescent light bulb anyway.  The retail price of energy-efficient bulbs has dropped by more than half over the past year, as companies perfected their technology and rolled out mass production. Things are moving in the right direction and while we often resist change, this change if for the better.

According to NEMA (National  Electrical Manufacturers Association) :  “Overall, national energy savings from the new standards is estimated at $10-15 billion per year, depending on assumptions of usage and which technology is selected to replace traditional incandescent bulbs.” NEMA

Incandescent Bulbs for the following types of lamps are exempt from the act:

1. Appliance lamps
2. Black light lamps
3. Bug lamps
4. Colored lamps
5. Infrared lamps
6. Left-hand thread lamps
7. Marine lamps
8. Marine’s signal service lamps
9. Mine service lamps
10. Plant light lamps
11. Reflector lamps
12. Rough service lamps
13. Shatter-resistant lamps (including shatter-proof and shatter-protected)
14. Sign service lamps
15. Silver bowl lamps
16. Showcase lamps
17. 3-way incandescent lamps
18. Traffic signal lamps
19. Vibration service lamps
20. G shape lamps with a diameter of 5” or more
21. T shape lamps that use no more than 40W or are longer than 10”
22.B, BA, CA, F, G16-1/2, G-25, G-30, M-14, or S lamps of 40W or less
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