You all probably know about the trend toward energy-efficient lighting options, such as LEDs, CFLs and halogen bulbs. However, what some of you may not know is that soon it will be more than a trend, it will be a law. Jayson Serrault, our VP of Category Management, offers some tips and a little bit of background on the new law phasing out incandescent bulbs.
The U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 began taking effect in January 2012, with a gradual phase-out of incandescent light bulbs in favor of more energy-efficient solutions. As of Jan. 1, 2014, the last phase will go into effect, with 60 and 40 watt incandescent light bulbs to cease all production. This means that soon you’ll no longer be able to find incandescent bulbs on the shelves of your local store, with the exception of some colored, appliance and specialty incandescent bulbs. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives, such as CFL and LED bulbs, that are not only more energy-efficient, but provide long-term cost savings as well.
There are certainly pros and cons to each type of bulb, so it really depends on what you’re looking for in your lighting solution. If you’re seeking the most efficient option, LED bulbs are superior to halogen and compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs in reducing energy consumption. They also have a much longer life span, ranging from 15-20 years. CFL bulbs fall in second, with a life span of six to 10 years and slightly higher energy consumption. Halogen bulbs, while superior to incandescent bulbs, only last between one to three years and use a much higher amount of energy—in fact, more than three times that of LED bulbs.
For those more concerned with aesthetics, CFL bulbs’ spiral shape can be considered unattractive. As a solution, LED bulbs closely mirror their incandescent counterparts in appearance and also provide a softer, warmer glow that’s reminiscent of these bulbs.
The final consideration is the upfront cost. LED bulbs will run higher on the initial price than CFL and halogen bulbs. However, LEDs will save you money in the long term, since they consume less energy and last longer.
There are factors that affect which bulb our store associates will recommend to customers, such as the type of lighting fixture and the desired ambiance. For example, CFL bulbs should not be used in motion-sensor lighting, since the frequent switching on and off can cause the bulb to burn out quickly. Additionally, if you have a dimmable light fixture, LED bulbs are a good choice because they are almost fully dimmable (down to 10 percent). Some CFL bulbs are dimmable, but only if it is stated on the package. Finally, if you have a light fixture that’s in a high, hard-to-reach place, you might want to consider an LED bulb to avoid using a ladder frequently!
Many people do find that CFL bulbs have a harsher, glaring white light that can be unattractive in the home, especially in areas where people relax and gather. However, the newest bulbs are available in different color temperatures to create a warmer, more relaxing glow and the technology will most certainly continue to advance. LED bulbs, such as the new SWITCH® light bulbs, are arguably the best option for providing light that’s more similar to the soft glow people love from incandescent bulbs.
We do understand that it’s hard for people to give up what they know and love! Our store associates are continually working to educate customers and inform them that the newest solutions can provide a similar lighting ambience to those beloved incandescent bulbs, while also saving money in the long-run and positively impacting the environment! According to the U.S. Department of Energy, by 2030 it’s estimated that LED lighting will save 190 terrawatt-hours of electricity per year, which equals $15 billion in savings and enough energy to provide electricity to 95 million homes. The new CFL and LED bulbs are really a win-win for everyone and we’re excited to see the positive impact they continue to have on people’s individual lives as well as our planet as a whole.
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