By passing the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, congress established efficiency standards for light bulbs that were slated to go into effect in at the beginning of 2012. However, due to a provision included in the massive year-end spending bill that eliminates funding to carry out the standards, the date has been pushed back to September 30th. The standards will be introduced in phases over the next three years and set limits on the amount of energy a light bulb can consume to produce a given amount of light (measured in lumens). Since many traditional incandescent light bulbs cannot currently meet the requirement, they will progressively be eliminated from store shelves after existing supply runs out. The Energy Information Administrationpredicts the new standards will save Americans nearly $6 billion in 2015 alone. Here is a rundown of the regulations:
- Phase 1 (effective 2012): 72 watt maximum for lights producing between 1,490 and 2,600 lumens. Traditional incandescent light bulbs affected: 100- and 150-watt.
- Phase 2 (effective 2013): 53 watt maximum for lights producing between 1,050 and 1,489 lumens. Traditional incandescent light bulb affected: 75 watt.
- Phase 3 (effective 2014): Sets two standards. 43 watt maximum for lights producing between 750 and 1,049 lumens, and 29 watts for lights producing between 310 and 749 lumens. Traditional incandescent light bulbs affected: 40- and 60-watt.
When incandescent bulbs are eventually phased out, you’ll still have several options to choose from. For those who want the same color light emitted by incandescent bulbs, you’ll want to buy “energy-saving” or halogen, incandescent bulbs. Besides emitting the same color light, they can be used with dimmers, last up to three times longer, and require 25 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. Even more efficient alternatives include compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs). Both use about 75 percent less energy, but CFLs are available in a wide range of colors and some can be used with dimmers.