What's All The Fuss About the Lil' Old Light Bulb?

The problem with traditional incandescent bulbs is that only 10% of their energy goes toward the production of light. The other 90% is heat—aka unused (essentially wasted) energy.

Concerned about this significant waste of energy, the federal government set out to change regulations on light bulbs, requiring them to be more efficient. Since 2012, federal laws have gradually required the common types of light bulbs to be 25% more energy efficient. These federal regulations first applied to 100-watt incandescents (in 2012) and 75-watt bulbs (in 2013). In 2014, incandescent 40- and 60-watt bulbs began to be regulated in the same way.

So, it's not that incandescent bulbs are going away—they are simply changing.

Plus, there are still many incandescent bulbs that are exempt from these regulations. Three-way bulbs (often used in table and floor lamps), colored lights, and appliance bulbs are all staying the same.

Benefits of More Efficient Bulbs

There are serious, measurable benefits to these changes. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates a collective household savings of $6 billion dollars nationwide—each year. In other words, if you upgrade 15 standard bulbs to new, more efficient ones, you will save $50 or more a year in energy costs.

Thankfully, the more energy efficient light bulbs (primarily halogen, compact fluorescent, LED) now on the market are available in an amazing array of sizes, colors and shapes. And, yes, there are many that create that same wonderful, warm glow of the incandescent we’ve come to know.

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