Next Step Backward in the Light Bulb Ban Saga

You may remember that I have been following the ban on incandescent (Edison) light bulbs over the past year or so (with an update found here).  Congress passed a law in 2007, which raises the standards on energy efficiency for light bulbs manufactured and imported into the US.  The new standards effectively banned the manufacture and sale of standard incandescent bulbs, since these do not meet the new standards for energy efficiency.

As a designer, I have been following this story because lighting is a HUGE part of any interior project.  Compact fluorescent bulbs just don’t have the warmth or the look of incandescent bulbs, and LED lights just don’t light surfaces effectively enough (yet) for my taste.

The new standards were designed to be enforced in a staggered  timeline, with 100-watt bulbs to be the first in line.  As of January 1, 2012, these 100-watt bulbs were to be history.

However, last week Congress decided to take a step back in enforcing the new standards.  Instead of getting rid of the new law, they simply decided not to fund the enforcement of the law.


Now that all the lighting manufacturers have reworked their plants, or moved them out of the US in at least one case, lawmakers have decided to hold up the entire ban?

Environmental groups are upset with the move.  According to the linked article, “Jim Presswood, federal energy policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, called the GOP-backed delay dimwitted.”

‘It’s just a completely ridiculous move by Congress,’ Presswood said. ‘It undermines the ability of the Energy Department to enforce standards that are going to give consumers tremendous savings as well as reduce pollution.'”

Well…I don’t know about that.  I still can’t imagine how a pile of broken mercury-filled glass tubes is going to pollute the world less than some broken Edison bulbs.  I understand that they use less electricity, but doesn’t the mercury pollution more than make up for that?

And, supposedly the LED lights are now able to offer a warmer light – one that more closely resembles incandescent light.  I hope that’s the case.

What do you think?  Are you applauding the latest move by Congress, or do you think it was idiotic?



Filed under Interior Design News

2 responses to “Next Step Backward in the Light Bulb Ban Saga

  1. peterdub

    yes, been following your posts on it Teri!

    I obviously think it’s a pointeless ban for the reasons said before…

    though the 2012 sale of regular 100W incandescents was never banned
    Only the manufacture and import.
    Since stores are stocking up, it will not change things for consumers
    short term.

    But the Republican amendment was not pointless:
    It was all they could do in a Democrat controlled Senate,
    and it means Congressmen are forced to look again at the whole issue
    in election year 2012.

    Long term is a different story:
    incandescent technology for ordinary lamps – including touted halogens, which have differences anyway, and at a much higher cost – will effectively be banned, on the mandated 45 lumen per Watt end regulation standard

    (further explanation of light bulb regulations,
    official links, and updates on the 7 US local state repeal bills )

  2. Pingback: Design Trend: Nostalgic Light Bulbs | A Little Design Help

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