Lowes and all retailers will be phasing out regular incandescent bulbs as of January 1, 2014. General Electric, Phillips, Osram Sylvania and other manufacturers are discontinuing all but a few specialty bulbs to comply with recent legislation
. The government wants you to use more energy-efficient alternatives, like LED, halogen or compact fluorescent bulbs. Specialty incandescent bulbs that will still be made include 3-way bulbs, reflectors, appliance bulbs, bug lights, plant lights and some decorative bulb options. However, you will need to get your energy efficient light bulbs ready, because the traditional bulbs of the past will no longer be available. And when they are gone, they’re gone for good.
But there are many energy-efficient options that will fit your fixtures and provide the light you need. Jan. 1. marks the end of a seven-year effort to ban the ordinary lightbulb. A 2007 law raised minimum efficiency standards for traditional incandescent bulbs far beyond what the technology can manage. In 2007 Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act requiring new energy-efficient standards for basic light bulbs. From 2012 to 2014, all standard 100-, 75-, 60- and 40-watt incandescent bulbs are being phased out and will no longer be produced. Standard incandescent bulbs will still be available to purchase while supplies last. A number of specialty incandescent bulbs will remain available. CFL bulbs use about 75 percent less energy, government estimates say, while LEDs use about 85 percent less than incandescent bulbs. They cost about 10 times more.
Light bulb manufacturers will stop making 40 and 60-watt light bulbs, the most popular in the country, as of January 1st 2014. This comes after the phasing out of 75 and 100-watt light bulbs at the beginning of 2012. The 2007 law doesn’t mandate that manufacturers discontinue their bulbs, just that they improve them. 40W bulbs must draw just 10.5W, and 60W bulbs 11W. The result is the same: Incandescent bulbs simply can’t keep up with compact fluorescent (CFL) and LED bulbs requirements and thus production must be stopped. You can continue to buy and use the old bulbs as supplies last.
CFL’s and other energy efficient light bulbs are designed to address inefficiencies with old light bulbs. Only 10% of the energy they use is converted into light according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The so-called bulb ban is simply a government-mandated energy efficiency standard at work. Seven years ago, President Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 into law, and its final light bulb provisions take effect now. They simply require that the most popular light bulbs are roughly 25 percent more efficient — that you only need 43 watts to generate the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent.
Experts point out how much consumers can save with more efficient bulbs. The high efficiency incandescents cost about $1.50 each, compared to 50 cents or so for the old bulbs. But they last twice as long, and use less power. With LEDs, the saving are even greater. While a 40-watt LED goes for about $7.50 — a big drop from the $50 or so it cost just a few years back — it uses 85% less energy than a traditional bulb. Over the course of the year, a LED will consume about $2 in power under normal circumstances, compared to about $7 for an incandescent.
In light of the new rules taking effect Jan. 1 because of the Energy Independence and Security Act, Lowe’s is providing guidance to consumers who might still be unfamiliar with the changes.
- Consumers can continue using their existing bulbs, and retailers can sell off their remaining stock of incandescent bulbs, so you may still see 40- and 60-watt bulbs on store shelves for some time.
- Manufacturers are producing halogen, LED and CFL bulbs that are very similar to incandescent in effect, but still meet the new efficiency standards.
- The average LED bulb lasts for at least 12 years and costs significantly less to operate than incandescents.
- Modern CFLs contain less mercury, provide better lighting and take less time to power on than their former counterparts.
- Customers now have more options when it comes to color temperatures, which can be suited for ambient lighting, workspace and outdoor needs.
Consumers are beginning to buy up and hoard 40 and 60 watt incandescent light bulbs as the bulbs are flying off shelves at local Lowes Home Improvement locations. Lighting experts expect the run on incandescent bulbs will continue, as consumers get used to paying more money for bulbs that use less electricity and last much longer. Lowes and other retailers like Target, Ace Hardware, Home Depot and Menards have about a 3- 6 month supply of incandescent bulbs at warehouses ready to be shipped. But many consumers are now buying the old bulbs by the case which means you may not be able to find incandescent bulbs within a few months. Consumers will soon find the only option in lighting is to buy the pricier, more efficient compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. Or stock up on incandescent bulbs while supplies last. Visit Lowes Light Bulb Legislation FAQs for more information.
By Victoria Stone