September 18, 2014

New Incandescent Lightbulbs – Now There’s a Bright Idea

Everybody seems to be talking about it – Californians can start saying goodbye to traditional 100-watt incandescent light bulbs now that the state has become the first in the country to require a new standard for the screw-base bulbs.

Experts say the new rules, which took effect New Year’s Day, will save residents money and energy. California is already the nation’s leader in energy-efficiency standards.

As of Saturday, what used to be a 100-watt light bulb manufactured and sold in California will have to use 72 watts or less. The 72-watt replacement bulb, also called an energy-saving halogen light, will provide the same amount of light, called lumens, for lower energy cost.

Similar new standards for traditional 75-watt, 60-watt and 40-watt incandescent bulbs will go into effect in California over the next few years, with wattages reduced to 53, 43 and 29 respectively.

The new rule does not ban incandescent light bulbs; it just requires those bulbs to be 25 to 30 percent more efficient. And it only affects incandescent light bulbs manufactured in 2011 or later, not those already in use or on store shelves.

All this can be found in the Mercurynews.com which writes that the new lights are comparably priced to the regular incandescent lights. A two-bulb package of 100-watt incandescent bulbs is about $4.32 at Lowe’s, while a four-bulb package of new 72-watt halogen bulbs is $8.66, or $4.33 for two. By contrast, a two-bulb package of energy-saving compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) is $11.28.

“The 72-watt bulb is improving Edison’s original idea,” said Adam Gottlieb, a spokesman for the California Energy Commission.

“Consumers will still have the amount of light they need for the task at hand,” said Gottlieb. “But they’ll see lower electricity bills.”

Noah Horowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, called the new regulation “a great thing for consumers.” He played a key role in the development and passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, upon which the new regulation is based.

“The 125-year-old incandescent light bulb is far and away the least efficient product in our homes, because 90 percent of the electricity is wasted as heat,” Horowitz said.

At Lowe’s Home Improvement stores, spokesman Gerard Littlejohn said the retailer is removing all 100-watt incandescent lights from its California stores.

Many consumers seem open to the new regulation.

“It’s not a problem at all,” said San Jose resident Daniel Robles, 28, who was shopping Saturday for CFL bulbs at a San Jose Lowe’s. He buys them to save money but said the light from CFLs give his wife migraines, so the new energy-saving halogen lights would be worth trying.