And on the twenth-eleventh day, the Lord said, "Let there be light — and let it not be incandescent." Yes, the image of the light bulb (one that normally connotes a bright idea) is being dimmed as environmentalists, brands and politicians take sides in the battle of the bulbs.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn is lobbying her fellow Republicans in the US Congress to support bill H.R.6144 (dubbed the Better Use of Light Bulbs act, or BULB), which proposes a nationwide rollback on the ban of incandescent light bulbs.
As she tells FOX News above, the move comes as California's statewide ban on the 100-watt bulb goes into effect. North of the border, but also on the progressive left coast, British Columbia in Canada also flicks the switch on incandescent bulbs.
Ikea, the world’s leading home furnishings company, is calling it lights out on traditional incandescent light bulbs. Getting a jump on pending legislation from The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requiring elimination of incandescent light bulbs by 2012-2014, Ikea announced that it aims to continue its mission to “improve our lives” as the first major retailer to stop selling the product.
California, ever progressive and the nation's leader in energy-efficiency standards, became the first US state requiring new energy-efficient standards for screw-base bulbs, a law that took effect on January 1st.
100-watt light bulbs previously manufactured and sold in California now must be 72 watts or less, a.k.a. an energy-saving halogen light, which will provide the same lumens for lower energy cost.
"The 72-watt bulb is improving Edison's original idea. Consumers will still have the amount of light they need for the task at hand, but they'll see lower electricity bills,'' according to Adam Gottlieb, a spokesman for the California Energy Commission.
A two-bulb package of 100-watt incandescent bulbs sells for about $4.32 at Lowe's; while a four-bulb package of new 72-watt halogen bulbs is $8.66, or $4.33 for two.
Lowe's is removing all 100-watt incandescent lights from its California stores, and Home Depot, the largest US lighting retailer, has been training sales associates about the new law for the newly stocked incandescent bulbs.
"The 125-year-old incandescent light bulb is far and away the least efficient product in our homes, because 90 percent of the electricity is wasted as heat,'' explains Noah Horowitz, scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The move will save California consumer’s $35.6 million in electric bills and eliminate the sale of 10.5 million inefficient 100-watt bulbs.
In Canada, meanwhile, British Columbia's retailers can carry incandescent 75W and 100W bulbs until stock runs out. Stores are already reporting bulk orders from consumers who wish to stockpile the old bulbs.
The province leads the nation in energy-efficient alternatives including compact fluorescent light bulbs, with 7 million spiral-shaped CFLs sold annually and 78% of homes now using them.
Ikea, meanwhile, offers the following ‘Did you know’ facts to confused customers:
• CFLs last from 6-10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs (6000 - 10,000 vs. 1,000 hours) and use 80% less energy. This lower energy use they can save $30 or more over each bulb’s lifetime. (EnergyStar.gov)
• If every American household replaced 1 incandescent bulb with an Energy Star qualified CFL bulb, energy savings could light 3 million homes for 1 year.
• If every American home replaced one light bulb with a CFL, we would prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than two million cars. The average American family spends $1,900 on energy bills each year. (green.yahoo.com/18seconds)
• Lighting expenses account for almost 25% of electricity costs of customers’ homes. (EnergyStar.gov).
The North American debate lags Europe, where Philips, as a leading brand in lighting, started promoting so-called green bulbs with its Simple Switch campaign (below) in 2007.
What would Thomas Edison think? What about you?