A lot of our customers have voiced their concerns about not being able to find their usual high wattage incandescent and halogen bulbs and this is due to new regulations that have been set in place in an effort to save energy and increase efficiency.
Just because the higher wattages are not available now, that does not mean you have to sacrifice brightness. A lot of the LED bulbs and fluorescent bulbs these days provide similar light output (or brightness) as their higher wattage incandescent/halogen counterparts while using less wattage (thus less energy).
The terminology and finding the right equivalent may be a confusing so we have compiled a quick overview and guide below to assist (courtesy of the energystar.gov)
What is the “light bulb law”
The EISA or “light bulb law” is the Energy Independence and Security Act signed in 2007 by President George W. Bush. The EISA is an energy policy intended to make better use of our resources and help the United States become energy independent. The law provides important benefits to consumers, industry, our country and environment.
What does the law require?
Under the new law, screw-based light bulbs will use fewer watts for a similar lumen output. Common household light bulbs that use between 40 and 100 watts will use at least 27% less energy by 2014. The law affected 100-watt bulbs in January 2012 and ended with 40-watt bulbs in January 2014.
The law also requires that most light bulbs be 60-70% more efficient than the standard incandescent today; this will go into effect in 2020. Many compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and many Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) can meet this requirement today, shaving energy usage compared to standard incandescents by 75%.
Any type of bulb can be sold as long as it meets the efficiency requirements.
Why is this law needed and how does it benefit consumers?
EISA aims to eliminate unnecessarily wasteful products from the market. There are 4 billion light bulb sockets in the U.S. and more than 3 billion of them still use the standard incandescent technology that has not changed much in 125 years. A standard incandescent is only 10% efficient – the other 90% of the electricity it uses is lost as heat.
In using more efficient light bulbs we can reduce the harmful emissions from coal-fired power plants (mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel, acid gases and greenhouse gases. This helps to protect the health of our citizens, wildlife and environment, and it’s an easy, achievable step toward reducing our carbon footprint.
Additionally, efficient products mean cost savings. The new standards mean U.S. households collectively could save nearly $6 billion in 2015 alone.
Will this change the way I shop for light bulbs?
When shopping for light bulbs you will shift your focus on watts to lumens . Watts are a better predictor of how hot a light bulb will be than how bright it is. Overall, for dimmer lighting, aim for fewer lumens; for brighter light, look for a greater number of lumens.
• If you used to buy 100 watt bulbs, look for a bulb with 1600 lumens.
• If you used to buy 75 watt bulbs, look for a bulb with 1100 lumens.
• If you used to buy 60 watt bulbs, look for a bulb with 800 lumens.
• If you used to buy 40 watt bulbs, look for a bulb with 450 lumens.
Beginning in 2012, the Federal Trade Commission has designed a new label to make it easier to compare light bulbs . The label provides information about lumens (brightness), estimated annual operating cost, how long the bulb should last, and light appearance. The latter will help you find the color of light you find more pleasing (warm yellowish to cool white).
The label example below on the left is for a CFL; the label in the middle is for a standard incandescent. Note the difference between the yearly energy costs. The label example below on the far right is what you’ll expect to see on the front of the light bulb packaging; it shows lumens (brightness) and estimated energy cost per year.