It's lights out for the incandescent bulb

2011-01-25 20:24

Los Angeles - The brightest bulb in most homes for more than a century is fading toward darkness this year as California turns out the light on the century-old incandescent.

Beginning on January 1, the state began phasing out certain energy-sucking bulbs, federal standards the rest of the country will enact next year.

Manufacturers will no longer make the traditional 100W bulb and stores will eventually sell out of current supplies. Consumers will have to choose from more efficient bulbs that use no more than 72W, including halogen incandescents, compact fluorescents and light-emitting diode, or LED, bulbs.

"These standards will help cut our nation's electric bill by over $10bn a year and will save the equivalent electricity as 30 large power plants," said Noah Horowitz a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defence Council. "That translates into a whole lot less global warming pollution being emitted."

The change is part of the federal Energy Independence and Security Act that President George W Bush signed in 2007, to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. California was allowed to adopt the national standard one year earlier.

Cost

The act requires new bulbs to use 25% to 30% less energy beginning in 2012 nationally - starting with the 100W bulb. By 2014, other incandescent bulbs, including the 75W, 60W and 40W, will also be phased out across the country.

Some specialty bulbs, however, will continue to be available. Consumers will still be able to get smaller lights such as yellow bug lights and aquarium bulbs.

Light bulb manufacturers said they haven't received any reports of customers hoarding 100W bulbs yet, though that may change once supplies begin to dry up and word gets out.

Nick Reynoza, manager at Royal Lighting in Los Angeles, said it's a shame the transition comes at a time when alternatives are so much more expensive.

"It's not really an option - you have this or you don't get anything," he said. "The options are more expensive. Four incandescents are $1.00, the halogens are $5.99 and the LED are like $20."

While conservation groups back the change and the lighting industry has invested heavily in new technology, not everyone supports the law. Representative Joe Barton, a Texas Republican, reintroduced legislation this year to repeal the law.

"People don't want Congress dictating what light fixtures they can use," said Barton on his website. "Traditional incandescent bulbs are cheap and reliable."

New standards

Adam Gottlieb, spokesperson for the California Energy Commission, acknowledged that the change has resulted in a "great deal of hue and cry" on some blogs as well.

Recent postings have included the titles "More dim bulbs: California banning 100-watt incandescent light bulbs" and "More evidence that California is nuts."

Gottlieb, however, said it was not a ban and that consumers can still buy whatever bulbs they want as long as they meet the new standards.

"After 130 years Tom Edison's old-fashioned light bulb is getting a 20th century makeover," he said. "The simple truth is consumers will save money."

The newer bulbs are more expensive than incandescents, but supporters of the technology say they last so much longer that there is a financial savings in the end. For example, while incandescents provide as much as 2 000 hours of light, compact fluorescents can provide light for six times longer.

Incandescents, which create light by passing an electric current through a tungsten wire filament, also waste 90% of the electricity they use as heat instead of light. Fluorescents, by comparison, apply an electrical current to different types of phosphers to produce light and produce less heat.

Shortcomings

But fans of the traditional bulb say they provide a softer, more natural light and turn on more quickly. Michael Petras, president of GE Lighting, said the industry is aware of the shortcomings and is working to refine the technology.

"We've got compact fluorescents that look like incandescents," he said from the company's headquarters in Cleveland. "We have a product coming out this spring that's a hybrid of compact fluorescent and halogen that will provide energy savings and a better start up time."

Australia was the first to begin phasing out incandescents beginning in 2009, followed by the EU, the Philippines and Argentina, said Petras. Mexico and Brazil are expected to follow the US.

- AP

Read more on:    us  |  energy  |  climate change
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
8 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Delft - 20:37 PM
    Road name: R300 Southbound
    ROADWORKS - left lane closed at Hindle Road
  • Wednesday Sir Lowry's Pass - 17:57 PM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9380

The first BlackBerry Curve smartphone with a touch screen Stay connected...

From R1799.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.