40 and 60-watt light bulbs to be discontinued in 2014

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Light bulb manufacturers will cease making traditional 40 and 60-watt light bulbs, the most popular in the country, at the start of 2014.

This comes after the controversial phasing out of incandescent 75 and 100-watt light bulbs at the beginning of 2013.

In their place will be halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs, LED bulbs and high-efficiency incandescents, which are just regular incandescents that have the filament wrapped in gas.

All are significantly more expensive than traditional light bulbs but offer significant energy and costs savings over the long run. (Some specialty incandescents, such as three-way bulbs, will still be available.)

The end of old light bulbs will likely anger some consumers that are already faced with higher prices for a variety of goods.

It will also tick off tea party activists since the ban is the result of the final phase of government-mandated efficiency standards.

The rules were signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007.

They are designed to address gross inefficiencies with old light bulbs, only 10 percent of the energy they use is converted into light, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which has a handy fact sheet about the changes. The rest is wasted as heat.

But the rules have drawn fire from a number of circles, mainly conservatives and libertarians who are unhappy about the government telling people what light bulbs they can use.

They argue that if the new ones really are so good, people will buy them on their own without being forced to do so.

The Republican-controlled House first tried to overturn the law.

When that failed, Congress prevented the Department of Energy from spending money to enforce the new rules.

But light bulb makers still have no plans to make the old bulbs after the first of the year, noting the law is still the law and that state attorneys general have the power to enforce it.

“We haven’t seen any problems with respect to compliance,” Kyle Pitsor said, vice president for government relations at the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, which represents 95 percent of all light bulb makers in the United States.

The manufacturers association was a big supporter of the new rules, arguing they headed off a patchwork of pending state laws that would have made the business highly complicated.

While there were initial grumblings from consumers when the ban was first announced, Pitsor said most of the concerns faded away as people become more familiar with the new light bulbs and realize they can still buy high-efficiency incandescents.

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 makers claim they last twice as long and use 28 percent less power.

With LEDs, the savings 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 percent less energy than a traditional bulb.

Over the course of the year, a LED will consume about $2 in power under normal circumstances, Mark Voykovik said, national light bulb merchant for Home Depot.

That compares to over $7 for an incandescent.

“In two years, you pay off that bulb,” Voykovik said.

Because LED bulbs are expected to last at least 20 years, it’s all savings for the next 18 years.

Moreover, LEDs are free from many of the issues that plagued compact fluorescent bulbs.

They turn on instantly, do not contain mercury and give off a warm light similar to an incandescent.

People with big electricity bills seem to be taking notice.

Home Depot recently released a map showing who is buying more efficient bulbs.

While typically “green” places such as San Francisco, Seattle and Boston made the top 10, so did Atlanta, Orlando and Miami.

Fayetteville, Ark. and Waco, Texas were also hot markets, a fact Home Depot attributed to local rebate programs and the warm climate, where air conditioning drives up power bills.

Nationwide, about 12 percent of a home’s power bill goes towards lighting, according to the EPA.

While LED sales are growing rapidly, Voykovik said they doubled in each of the last two years at Home Depot, most consumers still opt for incandescent bulbs.

The percent of sales that are LEDs are in the single digits, he said.

The same was true at Lowe’s where a spokeswoman said over 50 percent of sales were incandescent bulbs.

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  • Tim Roman

    I try to keep in mind, some people are embarrassingly stupid, so forcing them to better themselves is often the best tactic. Incandescent bulbs are old, extremely inefficient, and waste energy.
    “Replacing a single incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) will keep a half-ton of CO2 out of the atmosphere over the life of the bulb. If everyone in the U.S. used energy-efficient lighting, we could retire 90 average size power plants. Saving electricity reduces CO2 emissions, sulfur oxide and high-level nuclear waste.”

  • -N

    “some people are embarrassingly stupid”? Tim Roman, you mean like yourself? You want to save the earth from CO2? Well many of us vote that you keep your mouth shut, and stop breathing air – you’d be saving a lot of CO2 that way without infringing on peoples lives… The problem is second and third world countries when it comes to pollutants, the US has been squeezed by environmentalists, who have yet to ask the Chinas, Indias, Pakistans, and every other toilets on the planet to actually do something on their part.

  • tri

    Seriously some folks have major anger issues. Make the switch and use the money saved towards some self healing. Government mandates all kinds of safety and energy issues already. This makes sense and is pretty painless. No need to point fingers or say just because these folks don’t we shouldn’t have to either. We should be leaders since we are the number one consumer nation in the world. It’s our responiblilty to do more since our burden of past and current waste is so excessive.

  • Report the Facts.

    Will human existence be around in 10,000 years? Most likely not. Environmental issues only give people something else to control and complain about. In other words, who cares!

  • DR Commish

    I think that most people just feel that as a “Government Mandate”… It simply goes against the will, freedom to choose, and the liberty, as our Founder’s created, to force this on its citizens…. while being wholly inconsistent, when it comes to “cost-saving” nearly everywhere else within the government itself.

  • Roscoe

    Let me guess,, the replacements will be the $15 greenie CFL’s that require a Hazardous Materials Team to respond when you break one

  • KitKat73

    Yadda Yadda Yadda! I have NEVER commented on any article EVER just because of drama and I think its pretty useless anyway but I have to throw my 2 cents out on this one and any comments back or whatever I will probably never see because I dont waste my day looking every few minutes to see what some dumb smart mouth might have to say cuz everyone wants to bring politics into EVERY dang thing on the internet!

    That being said -What about the handful of us that suffer from some kind of illness that prohibits us from being around fluorescent lighting? Good for the environment but bad for someone that will more than likely have to stay in the dark most of the time or have to suffer the side effects and give themselves injections that cost WWAYY more then the 1.50 bulb!
    I do not leave my house often I do most of my shopping online or my husband or daughter go for me I cannot go into public places because if I spend more than 30 minutes under certain lighting it give me a migraine so sever I may be sick for 3 days!
    Does the Government take that into consideration when not letting us make a choice on what we prefer to use? Maybe the preference isn’t a money thing maybe it is a health issue!
    When I go to see my DR they put me in a room as soon as I get there crack a blind and turn out the light in the room because I cannot be in that lighting and now I have to put that in my home?
    I just don’t think that’s fair!

  • Dale Hudson

    I use lights to light up a place, not to same money with a inferior bulb that you have to turn on and then use a flashlight to see.

  • jessica

    Ugh! The good lightbulbs are going away? Seriously? I get seizures from the bright expensive flourescent lightbulbs. I might as well just live life in the dark without decent darker lightbulbs. Just great.

  • Lora DeVore

    Jessica go buy up all that are left. At least you will have them for awhile. I too have tried the fluorescent….. I cannot see to read with them. They are slow to come on and slow to brighten up and just not enough light for me to see with. There will be more efficient incandescent bulbs still available but they will cost 3 times as much.

  • Laura

    I have several lamps whose shades clamp around the round top of the bulb…. With the newer bulbs I can’t even connect my lampshades to the lamp!

  • cg345@hotmail.com

    There is no global warming, which is the original C02 reuse for banning the conventional bulbs. People plugging in their electric cars for coal-generated electricity are now dictating our bulb options. The “savings” generated are non-existent considering you’ll pay much more for a single bulb emitting inferior light.

    So people “need to be forced to better themselves?” What a fascist Tim Roman is…I’d sure like to force some improvements in his life: first he’d be made to read the Road to Serfdom.

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