Incandescent bulbs are much less efficient than most other types of electric lighting. Incandescent bulbs convert less than 5% of the energy they use into visible light, with the remaining energy being converted into heat. Because of this, the U.S. Department of Energy has been incorporating an incandescent light bulb phase out for a while now. Traditional 75W incandescent light bulbs are no longer available as of January 1, 2013, and now traditional 40W and 60W incandescent light bulbs are no longer available as of January 1, 2014.
Here are 9 things you should know about the incandescent phase-out:
1. 75 and 100-watt bulbs were phased out in 2012 and 2013, so light bulb manufacturers have long been in the process of developing new lighting alternatives to fill the gap.
2. CFL (compact fluorescent) and LED (light emitting diode) bulbs have come a long way from their earlier incarnations and are capable of mimicking their incandescent predecessors in both warmth and brightness.
3. LED bulbs can last up to 20 years, so they save money in the long run.
4. Philips has recently released several new bulbs heralded to replace the incandescent phase-out. The 12-watt EnduraLED and the AmbientLED both work on a dimmer, produce a soft glow similar to incandescent light, consume 20 percent of the energy of an incandescent bulb and can last up to 25 times longer.
5. Philips’ new SlimStyle LED is another heralded replacement for the standard 60-watt bulb. This unique design is shaped a bit like a lollipop and fits within a price point most consumers can appreciate—under $10.
6. The luminous efficacy, the measure of how well a light source produces visible light, is written as lm/W (lumens per watt). A typical incandescent bulb is 16 lm/W, compared to 60 lm/W of a compact fluorescent bulb.
7. Lighting Designer Jason Byron Teague, principal at Jason Byron Teague LLC, shares insight into which bulbs are best for replacing incandescents: “For softer color lighting where the lamp itself is directly or easily visible, I would recommend a 2700K LED, which is about as bright as a 60-watt incandescent. It is ideal for shaded table lamps, floor lamps, typical frosted glass or shaded pendants and ceiling mounted fixtures.”
8. Teague: “With any CFL or LED lamp, check the packaging to make certain it is dimmable. Line voltage halogen lamps will be compatible with any Lutron dimmer. Lutron CL dimmers are ideal for CFL or LED lamps.”
9. Product designers are developing innovative new light sources which incorporate energy efficient alternatives. Increasingly, design shows are revealing an array of LED and CFL embracing lamps and fixtures, and as the 40 and 60 watt light sources become harder to find, more LED and CFL options are on the way.