Nearly every other day in the summer I was constantly being told “I won’t be able to buy incandescents next year so that’s why I am stockpiling them in my garage.” Dealing with light bulbs every day it’s important to know what the impending legislation is. It is true that incandescents are slowly being phased out, however you should no some of particulars of the bill.
The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) was signed into law on December 19th, 2007. As stated by WV State Representative Nick Rahall, the purpose of this bill is “to move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, to increase the production of clean renewable fuels, to protect consumers, to increase the efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles, to promote research on and deploy greenhouse gas capture and storage options, and to improve the energy performance of the Federal Government, and for other purposes.”
Other than lighting EISA encompasses several topics including renewables, fuel economy, and greater efficiency in buildings. However, as a member of the Clean Energy Corps I deal specifically with Title III of the bill: Energy Savings Through Improved Standards for Appliance and Lighting.
The first thing I would like to make clear is that EISA does NOT ban incandescent lighting. It requires manufactures to reduce wattage, but allows them to reduce lumens (a measure of the visible light emitted from a source) as well. Starting in 2012 manufactures must create unique lumens per watt as reflected in the attached chart. There are exemptions for certain light bulbs including 3-ways, reflectors, vibration resistant, and appliance bulbs.
For example you will start to see traditional 100-watt light bulbs look a little more like this:
Whenever I engage in a conversation about light bulbs with a participant in our program (especially in regards to this bill) there are a few things that I like to emphasize.
1. Do your homework
a. Know the terminology of light bulbs
i. Lumens, lumens per watt, color temperature
2. Don’t just buy the cheapest bulb
a. Look at return on investment
b. Look at quality of bulbs
i.Energy Star is a good place to start
3. Understand that each fixture is unique
a. EX: Don’t put a non-dimmable CFL into a dimmable fixture
4. Cut your lights off!
a. Use motion sensors, timers, dimmers
b. Make a concerted effort to cut lights off when they are
If you take anything away from this post let it be go and educate yourself about light bulbs. Regardless of how you’re motivated, whether it is the money savings, helping the environment, or improving your comfort there are options out there to upgrade to efficient lighting.