New Year Will Bring New Light Bulb Law

A change is on the way that is going to affect all of us beginning next year. When we ring in 2012, we'll also be ringing out the use of traditional incandescent lights bulbs.

The change will be made gradually over the next few years.
Beginning January 1, 2012 the Energy Independence and Security Act will go into effect for light bulbs.

"The new law basically changes the energy efficiency standards for light bulbs in the United States. This is a federal law, not a state law and it was passed originally in 2007," said Seth Effron with the NC Energy Office

Many have misinterpreted the law as one that has the federal government coming for your incandescent light bulbs.

"There's nothing that requires any individual or any business to make any change, the change is in this energy efficiency standards that applies to how light bulbs are going to be manufactured," said Effron.

What will happen though is a phase out of traditional incandescent bulbs over the next several years.

In 2012, 100 watt bulbs will no longer be sold at stores. In 2013 75 watt bulbs will be gone, and in 2014 40 watt and 60 watt bulbs will be phased out.

So you can switch to halogen incandescent bulbs--which according to energysavers. gov uses 25% less energy and last 3 times longer than regular bulbs. CFLs or compact fluorescent lamps, use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer, and LEDs or light emitting diodes use between 75% and 80% less energy and last 25 times longer. LEDs are still in the relatively early phases of development so they are expensive. We asked Effron about the CFL bulb savings consumers could see.

"If you have 10 light bulbs in your home you save 60 dollars a year. So these are more efficient, they last longer and while they cost a little bit more initially, you will get your savings back within 6 months," said Effron.

There are varying degrees of controversy surrounding the CFL bulbs though with respect to mercury. The actual amount of mercury inside the bulbs is about the size of a pen tip and if broken there are safe ways to clean it up.

"A typical thermometer that you may have in your home is 100 times more mercury in that then there is in a light bulb. That just gives you an idea of the difference there," said Effron.

Many home improvement stores like Lowes will recycle the bulbs for free, but it does beg the question of responsibility.

Alvin Frazier uses CFLs and says,"I very seldom change a light bulb. They last. They're real good as far as lasting. They were kind of pricey to start with. Now prices have dropped. I think it's a good win situation as long as we're good stewards of what we're using.

If you break a CFL--here are some EPA guidelines for cleaning it up. Have people and pets leave the room. Open windows for ventilation. Shut off your central heating or air conditioning. Safely collect the broken glass using a vacuum cleaner. Place cleaned up material in a sealable container and then place it outside in a trash container until it can be disposed of properly.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Richard Location: Minneapolis on Dec 16, 2011 at 09:10 AM
    This is ridiculous - another Republican "deal" for businesses and their rich buddies. Most people will throw the new compact florescent bulbs into their trash - and guess what? MERCURY CONTAMINATION IN OUR LANDFILLS - perhaps 20% of us will dispose of them properly? And, the manufacturers will make a lot more money from the sale of the CFL's and LED's!!! THAT IS WHAT IS REALLY BEHIND THIS NEW LAW - ENERGY SAVINGS IS THE SMOKE SCREEN FOR INCREASED PROFITS AND RIPPING OFF THE MIDDLE CLASS ONCE AGAIN!!!!
  • by Gail Location: Texas on Dec 3, 2011 at 07:32 PM
    What wil people who cannot afford these new bulbs do? Government at work to control every aspect of our lives and I am not a radical. Will they next tell you how many sheets of toilet paper you can use. A friend of mine put these in her expensive lamps and within six months they had destroyed her very expensive lamp shades. She went back to regular bulbs and no problems. Met a lady today who was going store to store buying every pack of bulbs she could. Hmmmm - mayble tomorrow I'll do that.
  • by Audra Location: SoCal unfortunately on Nov 10, 2011 at 09:08 AM
    Let's try again. Denise's post is legitimate & there is PLENTY of documentation about adverse health effects of fluorescent lighting for many reasons. Those of us that have Systemic Lupus have tried for yrs to address the issue desperately, so her neurologist wouldn't be alone in his concerns. A massive portion of the 2million of us in the U.S. that have SLE are photosensitive, & that is not just to UV from the sun. We also cannot be under indoor lighting of this type without protection. It's well-known that if you go to a large department store you have to wear the same high SPF sunblock as you would outside, or you risk triggering a flare just trying to shop. It's more than just a rash or burn, incidentally. It can lead to physically damaging episodes. Add to it the multitude of people on meds that induce photosensitivity. Then add in the neurological concerns for other diseases. We're talking about a major portion of the population negatively - even dangerously - affected by these stupid light bulbs. I've met the man that created shield panels & covers to block the UV for people like me. The technology exists but how many stores and offices do you think kick down for a new cost to protect us? Our homes have been the only place we can relax & not have to fear the flip of a switch. Now that is being taken away. So tell me why I would be upset by that. I wonder.
  • by Seriously?? Location: Greenville on Nov 8, 2011 at 07:30 AM
    I would be willing to bet that a Federal mandate to stop Day light Savings time would be a much better energy saver! It would save an hour of light and nationwide I would assume that 1 less hour of national use of electricity to combat the dark would be much more effective. Look around people-the rates of cancer now are astronomical and often food and environment related. Get informed and say ' NO!!!"
  • by Audra Location: SoCal on Nov 6, 2011 at 02:04 PM
    Do I reall have to retype what I posted about photosensitivity WITN? Is my post sitting in some holding area unnecessarily? There's nothing offensive in it. It's a reality about the health issues around these bulbs and I'd really like to see it show up. I'll retype it if I have to but... really?
  • by EmEm Location: Florida on Nov 5, 2011 at 05:05 AM
    CFLS are highly dangerous to your health. Using only ONE will turn the EMFs in your home change from a healthy 30 to a "dirty electricity" level of 1200 or more, and can cause headaches, sleep disturbances, anxiety, obesity, diabetes, eczema, breast cancer in young women, ADD in kids AND adults, depression and more. Notice how your health and well-being have changed since you started using these bulbs. If you sit next to one to read, you can get a radiation burn. If we think we have health problems now, wait until 2012. A Canadian professor, Dr. Magda Havas, of Trent University, an expert in microwaves, etc. has an excellent website, Click on LIGHTING to find out more.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 4, 2011 at 08:37 AM
    no cable here, so i just listen to ABC (almighty Barracks Channel) lie to me. If he came to sudden stop ABC staff would give him free colonoscopy!!
  • by Anonymous on Nov 4, 2011 at 08:35 AM
    If you think your electric bill will go down..think again.
  • by Loretta Location: Florida on Nov 3, 2011 at 10:46 PM
    I just made the switch to LED's. Great luminosity. Found really good prices on
    • reply
      by Harry on Nov 4, 2011 at 09:58 AM in reply to Loretta
      Purchased a two pack of LED lamps which where suppose to be as bright as 60 watt bulbs. They SUCK! Night lights produce more illunmination and cost a couple of bucks vs the $10.00 per bulb I paid for GE marketed claptrap.
  • by Say What Location: ENC on Nov 3, 2011 at 05:39 PM
    Isn't it amazing that the Right says the left and the left leaning media is lying and the liberal left says the the Right and Right leaning media (Fox, Hannity) are lying. Since I can't think for myself (sarcasm) who do I believe?????? Hmmmmm

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