What the Incandescent Phase-Out Means for Consumers

Incandescent Light BulbThere are many misconceptions floating around the blogosphere regarding the government’s upcoming phase-out of incandescent light bulbs. Some media sources are reporting that the government has mandated the switch from incandescent bulbs to CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs in everything from headlamps to lanterns to flashlights. This is simply not true, and is a misconception that ignores LED lanterns and lights which are environmentally friendly. The following is what is really happening with the Big Switch and what is just a big myth.

What IS happening:

The U.S. government has introduced new energy efficiency standards that affect the type of bulbs that can be sold. The new mandates require bulbs to be roughly 30% more efficient than current incandescent bulbs. This goes for all types of bulbs, from common desk lamps to LED flashlights and headlamps. You can choose any type of bulb that you wish as long as it meets the energy efficiency standards.

What ISN’T happening:

The government is not going to force you to buy CFL bulbs for your home, office, or headlamps. Many people don’t like the quality of light that CFLs produce, not to mention the presence of mercury in the bulbs. These people will be free to purchase high-quality, energy efficient LED lights and LED lanterns. Some traditional incandescent bulbs will also be modified to meet the new standards.

What this means to you:

In short, this transition won’t affect you much – except by saving you money on your electricity bill. The change will take place at the manufacturing level, and the types of bulbs you will be able to choose from won’t change. The new bulbs may be slightly more expensive than they used to be, but they last much longer and use less energy so they’re well worth the cost.

[Photo by Anton Fomkin]

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