America will conclude its three-year farewell to inefficient general-purpose incandescent light bulbs on December 31, 2013, the National Lighting Bureau advises. On the following day – January 1, 2014 – it will be a violation of law to manufacture in or import into the United States 60-watt and 40-watt general-purpose “A-line” incandescent light bulbs. The process – required by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 (Public Law 110-140) – began on January 1, 2012, when 100-watt A-line incandescent light bulbs were phased out, followed six months later by a variety of inefficient incandescent R-series reflector bulbs and, six months after that, on January 1, 2013, inefficient 75-watt incandescent A-lines.
“As substantial as the energy conservation could be, the environmental conservation could be even more significant,” said National Lighting Bureau Chair Howard P. Lewis (Visioneering Corporation), the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America’s (IES’) representative on the Bureau’s board of directors. “Again, assuming 100 percent reliance on coal, the reduction would come to almost 970 million tons of CO2 that does not escape to the atmosphere. We’d also see reductions in the emission of other greenhouse gases, mercury, and fly ash.”
Continually more power plants are generating their electricity from natural gas, which now makes up one-third of the primary energy used, about the same percentage as coal. Using natural gas creates about half the CO2 as coal. The electric-power industry is also generating more energy from clean, renewable alternative means, like wind, solar, and hydro.
“The lighting industry deserves a huge amount of credit for these developments,” Mr. Lewis said. “The major lamp manufacturers, like Bureau sponsors GE and OSRAM SYLVANIA, were highly supportive of the Energy Independence and Security Act, even though it meant elimination of one of their most significant product lines. The bottom line is that all Americans can now have better, more versatile, and far more efficient lighting whose energy cost is about one-third or less of what it was before.”
In fact, once the phase-out achieves its ultimate effect, Americans could be saving more than $20 billion per year at today’s average electricity cost of $0.115 per kWh in the residential and commercial sectors.