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Energy Efficient Light Bulbs - New Laws to FORCE You to Buy Expensive Specialty Light Bulbs

Updated on January 26, 2014

Updated: Since I first wrote this Article LED has come down in Price... Get these instead of CFL and then you won't have to worry about Mercury!

Halogen, LED, or ? To Replace Incandescent Bulbs

The average person is probably not aware of new laws that will require the incandescent light bulb to be replaced. You are soon to be welcomed willing or not to the world of very expensive specialty light bulbs. That’s right the 60 cent light bulbs are going to be made illegal! This is not a joke, it’s a fact. It has already started in Europe.

Beginning August 31, 2009 stores in the European Union will no longer be allowed to purchase incandescent light bulbs.  This law is now in effect. The new law is supposed to cut back on energy usage by 10% over the next decade. So people who know about this law have been stockpiling bulbs.

The United States is Banning Incandescent Blubs starting in 2012 – more on this later.

After 2012, consumers in Europe will have two choices: high-efficiency halogen lamps, which can yield energy savings of up to 50 percent compared to conventional incandescent; or compact fluorescent lamps, or Compact Fluorescent Lamps, which can provide up to 75 percent savings over conventional light bulbs.

European Commission officials acknowledged that C.F.L. bulbs contain mercury, but noted that typical coal-fired power plants release mercury into the environment too. Gee isn't that comforting.  My friend Billy Smokes crack, so it's okay if I smoke crack too?  That is some kind of forward thinking logic!

This law is idiotic and is nothing more than a trade from one energy consuming policy to another which pollutes the environment. Just plain stupid!!! Mercury is a highly toxic substance. If you drop one of these bulbs and break it you do not want to vacuum the glass shards as it will disperse mercury through all but the best heap filtered vacuum systems. I can understand the "intent" of the law, but intentions in this case do not equate to the reality that the technology is simply not ready to replace the incandescent bulb!

It makes sense to save energy, but it does not make sense to mandate the use of a product that is clearly not the “right” solution to the problem.

I have purchased Compact Fluorescent bulbs and they are expensive, do not produce as much light as a conventional bulb at the same wattage, are slow to light up, and can be noisy. What is worse is they do not last nearly as long as the manufacturers claim. I had one bulb blow out in only a couple of months, no longer than a regular bulb would have lasted.

Incandescent Light Bulbs in the United States to be Phased Out in 2012

An energy bill passed by Congress in 2007 and signed by then President Bush sets energy-efficiency standards for light bulbs and traditional incandescent bulbs are not energy efficient enough to meet the new standards. The new rules are to begin phasing in the year 2012.

So what is the problem? Sounds like a good idea doesn’t it? The problem is the technology to meet these requirements is simply not ready. Will it be by 2012? Maybe, but at what cost. And we are not just talking money, we are talking impact on the environment, and other issues which the average person would never even think about like this gem:

The commission said it had found no evidence that C.F.L.s could trigger attacks of epilepsy in people already suffering from the condition.

The US Department of Energy  is sponsoring what is essentially a technology contest called the “L Prize”.  In a nutshell any company who can meet the requirements and produce the best solution for a replacement bulb is to be awarded $10 million dollars. At the time of this writing only 1 Bulb Manufacturer (Phillips) has submitted an entry.

There are rules of course to be awarded the $10 million. For example 75% of the bulb must be made or assembled in the United States, and the light bulb must last 25 times longer than an average bulb. Which only makes sense since Philips is not USA

Again, I believe we all want to “save energy”, but what is the real cost? The Philips solution (An LED Light Bulb) currently costs in the neighborhood of $100 per bulb! So the economies don’t add up. Sure the cost will and should come down as manufacturing ramps up, assuming this is in fact the best solution. But how much does the bulb need to drop in order for the average consumer to not be gouged?

In my view this law may save some energy, but it is not going to save anyone money. All it will do is shift the profits from the energy companies to the light bulb manufacturers.

I’m all for doing the right thing, but you do not mandate policy until new technology is available to replace the existing technologies.

Energy Efficient Light Bulbs are simply not ready for prime time!

Comments Welcome.

Energy Efficient Light Bulbs to be Mandated

Incandescent Light Bulbs are going to be extinct very soon!
Incandescent Light Bulbs are going to be extinct very soon!


Submit a Comment

  • MikeNV profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Henderson, NV

    I have read that some of the bulbs do cause seizure type problems in people that are susceptible as well. I believe this is the case with both CF and LED. Unfortunately the Federal Government is mandating this change before the full manufacturing capacity of the industry is ready for the change so you can also expect prices to be sky high for quite some time. Stocking up may not be an option much longer as runs on bulbs will limit supply and the prices of conventional bulbs will rise as well. The best solution will be to utilize natural daylight as much as possible. Thanks for commenting.

  • profile image

    Barbara DeMambro 

    7 years ago

    I've tried the new bulbs. They give me a migrane headache. I'm out trying to buy all the old bulbs I can find.

  • Neil Sperling profile image

    Neil Sperling 

    8 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

    Mike - I'm with you 100% - the main point you are making is legislation - so many rules we are becoming a police state and we the people are counted only as a number. A number of willing mindless sheep to be more exact.

    The lumins created by LED are ridiculously LOW. They are no where near efficient in lighting up say a work place or a street light. They may be fine in a dimly lit room but so is burning a candle.

    Anti government control on consumer buying is more important than environment issues. Give people information and a fair priced option and we will make our own decisions.

    Government control, regulations and required permits are getting to the point we will need a permit to fart as that will soon be realized as methane gas production... and god forbid we can't be allowed to manufacture gas without a flipping permit can we?

    Thanks Mike

  • MikeNV profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Henderson, NV

    Unfortunately LED still is not the replacement. The replacement is still toxic CFL. When LED is actually priced reasonably then the switch can be made. Until then it's just gouging the consumer. And it's really easy to state that a bulb will last 30,000 hours because there really is no Proof. There are claims that CFL lasts... but I haven't found that to be the case.

    The problem is forcing this on people at a cost that doesn't make sense with technology that still isn't ready.

    Only time will tell if LED's will actually save money based on how long they actually last and how much they actually cost. Until then it's all just speculation.

  • lindsays5624 profile image


    8 years ago

    Some really good information here.

    But the price of LED's is coming down alot certainly in the UK. If you now take a 3 watt LED downlighter and compare the lifetime costs to a traditional halogen, taking into account purchase and running costs then the LED will save you around $200. This is largely to do with the extremely long life say 30000hours.

  • profile image

    Las Vegas Vacations 

    9 years ago

    I wonder how many of the lights on the strip are energy efficient? You would think all of them but I bet they are not.

  • MikeNV profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Henderson, NV

    Vilanda is absolutely brilliant. Yes you can find LED Replacement Bulbs for your 60 Watt Fixtures for about $40 not a $100... my bad. ""

    How many of you are going to rush out and replace all your 50 cent incandescent bulbs with $40 bulbs? It's only 80x more expensive. But you should recoup the cost in energy savings in a couple of decades.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    100USD a light bulb? wake up, you can easily find led light bulb for 10USD 100lm/W ir replaces 60W incandescent and uses 7W

  • Jeffrey Neal profile image

    Jeffrey Neal 

    9 years ago from Tennessee

    Edison is rolling in his grave, and the Philips company as well as any other LED bulb manufacturer is probably licking their lips waiting for the results of this, another government-backed corporate sweetheart deal.

    LED is definitely the way to go in terms of the technology, but we have a couple of years before they can be made in quantity and come close to resembling affordable. If they pass their cap and trade mess on through, we are going to be paying a lot more period. And, again we will get screwed with no benefit. At least Al Gore will be happy.

    Good hub!

  • BkCreative profile image


    9 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

    All so true - the mercury is a serious threat and you must be extremely careful in handling these bulbs. How is that an eco-friendly improvement? It is not.

    Further, in England people are already suing because these bulbs have been proven to be hazardous to sensitive skin - and to people with skin conditions. And yes, cost is a big issue there, why wouldn't it be here?

    I wrote about the dangers in my hub entitled "Are Low Energy Bulbs Harmful to Your Health?"

    Now that we know the US is following suit we need to start demanding answers now - about this folly, and spreading the word. There are already a million ways to reduce the use of energy with the bulbs we have.



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