SILVER SPRING, Md. — Prepare to say goodbye if you are using the venerable 100-watt “general-service” incandescent bulb. In less than one year — as of Jan. 1, 2012 — it will be a violation of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 to import the bulbs to the United States or to manufacture them there, the National Lighting Bureau (NLB) reports.
In California, state law banned this bulb as of Jan. 1, 2011.
Come Jan. 1, 2013, 75-watt general-service incandescent bulbs will be phased out, followed by 60- and 40-watt general-service incandescent bulbs starting Jan. 1, 2014. Halogen, CFL and LED replacements for these three lamps are already being sold.
According to the NLB, the nationwide ban is the first of several designed to reduce energy waste. “Light bulbs are now subject to the same kind of standard used to measure automobile efficiency; output per unit of input,” says Mary Beth Gotti, a member of NLB’s board of directors and manager of GE Lighting’s GE Lighting Institute.
Gotti believes the phase-out will help the nation significantly reduce electrical consumption and the greenhouse-gas emissions associated with the production of some electricity. She also believes the impact on consumers is not nearly as big a deal as some people are making it out to be.
“Standard-compliant halogen bulbs are readily available for those who want to keep using incandescent technology,” she explains. “A 72-watt halogen lamp that looks more or less identical to a conventional 100-watt incandescent bulb is about one-third more efficient, achieving more than 20 lumens per watt.
“While the higher efficiency results in lower operating costs, the halogen replacement generally costs two to three times as much as the 100-watt incandescent, a cost difference that in many cases can be more than offset by the value of the energy saved over the halogen bulb’s 1,000-hour life.”