The ban on the sale and manufacture of most incandescent light bulbs was signed into law in 2007, before ZVTS here was even more than a vague idea in my head after penning my political thoughts over at Booman Tribune all those years ago. The energy industry (and Donald Trump) slowed the implementation of the ban for sixteen years, and finally the Biden administration put the rule into effect this week.
Under new energy efficiency rules that took effect Tuesday, shoppers in the United States will no longer be able to purchase most incandescent bulbs, marking the demise of a technology patented by Thomas Edison in the late 1800s.
Taking their place are LED lights, which — love them or hate them — have already transformed America’s energy landscape.
They’ve driven down electricity demand in American homes, saving people money. And by using less power, LEDs have also helped lower the nation’s emissions of greenhouse gases, which warm the planet and are a major cause of climate change. (LED stands for light emitting diodes.)
The new efficiency standard announced by the Biden administration requires light bulbs to meet a minimum standard of producing 45 lumens per watt. (A lumen is a measurement of brightness, and incandescents typically produce far less than that per watt.) An accompanying rule change applies the new standards to a wider universe of light bulbs.
Neither rule is an explicit ban on incandescents. And a few specialized kinds of incandescent bulbs — like those that go inside ovens, and bug lights — are exempt. But most if not all other incandescents will struggle to meet the new efficiency standards, and the same goes for a more recent generation of halogen lights.
“Energy-efficient lighting is the big energy story that nobody is talking about,” said Lucas Davis, an energy economist at the Haas School of Business, part of the University of California, Berkeley. “Going from an incandescent to an LED is like replacing a car that gets 25 miles per gallon with another one that gets 130 m.p.g.,” he said.
With the new rules in place, the Department of Energy expects Americans to collectively save nearly $3 billion a year on their utility bills. In the past, a knock on LEDs was that they were more expensive to buy, but prices for LED bulbs have fallen rapidly to near parity with incandescents.
The cost savings could come as a boost particularly to lower-income households, which spend a larger proportion of their income on utilities. Research has shown that retailers in poorer neighborhoods had also been among the slowest to phase out energy-guzzling bulbs.
Over the next three decades, the rules will also cut carbon dioxide emissions by 222 million metric tons the Energy Department said, which it compared to the emissions from 28 million homes in one year.
LEDs have other advantages. Consumers can expect less running to the store for new bulbs or teetering on foot ladders to replace them: LED light bulbs last 25 to 50 times longer than their incandescent counterparts.
The new regulations may go over with little fanfare. Over the past year, most retailers have taken inefficient bulbs off their shelves in anticipation of the rule, said Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, which advocates for appliance efficiency rules.
“I don’t think most people even noticed,” he said.
I don't think I've bought an incandescent bulb in ten years or so, and this is Kentucky. FOX News is already very angry:
By the end of the week this will be Another GOP Talking Point, and all the 2024 GOP candidates, starting with Trump, will pledge to repeal enforcement of this rule as soon as they take office.
The dim bulbs that they all are.