The Politics of the Light Bulb
It seemed like a reasonable goal. Back in 2007 leaders around the world decided to introduce new efficiency standards for lighting. What did they ask for, a ban on light bulbs? No, they simply gave the lighting industry seven years to make light bulbs that were 25% more efficient than the current 100 W lightbulb that hundreds of millions of North Americans gather around every night, comforted by its perfect 2700° Kelvin, orangey warm light.
Energy Efficiency Standards Delayed Due to Politics
Congress attached a rider to a spending bill yesterday evening that will reverse/stall an earlier law to phase out incandescent light bulbs, strangely the law is still in effect, and only enforcing it will not be permitted.
Retailers have also been extremely busy in the last five years with the advanced knowledge of incandescent light bulb restrictions. Making sure they are fully stocked on the latest energy-saving lighting products from major manufacturers. As well as enjoying a( temporary as it is boom) in incandescent sales, as an estimated 10% of consumers in North America rush to stock up before the January implementation.
Light Bulb Ban Symbolizes Erosion of Personal Liberties
Many (typically those with conservative or Republican political views), have latched on to the light bulb ban issue claiming intrusion of government or freedom to choose. But is it right to have the freedom to be wasteful? Would you be willing to watch your neighbor not participate in the recycle program because he paid an extra $15 a year? The government only seems to need to step in when industry fails to self regulate, and improve the energy efficiency of its own products.
CFL's in many people's opinion, failed to live up to the stated estimated lifespan, deliver unfavorable color temperatures, while still unknown to many, CFL's must be returned to appropriate recapture centers. Now many people are finding they must drive up to 30 km to return CFL's and the Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers of America states:
“We do know that there are still over 500 million mercury-lamps per year put into some type of solid waste container and managed as municipal solid waste".
Considering the vast profits raked in since the introduction of CFLs, industry and government have failed to set up a viable infrastructure for consumers to easily dispose of expired mercury-based products. Congratulations go out to the many nonprofit groups such as productcare.org and corporations such as London drugs , Home Depot and others who freely collect CFL's and other fluorescent lighting products at their retail outlets. LEDs move from Wild West technology, to Premiere Solid-State Lighting Champion
LED technology is expanding and advancing quicker than any other lighting technology ever has. Although early adoptees sometimes were disappointed by luminance output and cool color temperatures, LEDs of today are ferociously bright in color temperature can be ordered to within a few hundred degrees on the Kelvin scale. A champion in energy efficiency, legendary for extended life span, LEDs will soon dominate the consumer screw-in bulb market. Recent price drops of up to 10% in one month alone, as well as the fact that many electronics manufacturers are releasing their own lines of LED consumer lighting, will lead to fierce competition especially for entry-level price for 60 W equivalent and soon hundred watt equivalent LEDs.
Was the incandescent phase out introduced to rapidly?
Considering you will still be able to purchase 75 W incandescent bulbs for another 12 months, there should be little panic, even after the ban, there are many exceptions for specialty incandescent products such as plant growth lights or bug lights, appliance lights and more are exempt and will be available for many years into the future.
New packaging for lighting products, show the true cost of running the product right on the package, when you see that it's a cost $60 a year to run at 100 W bulb for 12 hours a day when the LED packaging clearly states 8 dollars a year, the consumer will be better able to comprehend the repercussions of their purchases.