US incandescent light bulb ban imminent (2012)
The phasing out of the most wasteful domestic incandescent light bulbs in the US is getting closer. The following EDN article offers a useful summary of the latest news and the LED alternatives that now look feasible for those wanting bright white light and to use dimmer switches, without wasting vast amounts of energy producing unnecessary heat.
Energy-efficient lights to gain from incandescent ban
At A Glance
- The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 dictates phasing out incandescent light bulbs starting in 2012.
- To satisfy consumer demands, energy-efficient lights must also be instant-on, work with currently installed light switches, deliver a warm- to bright-white light, cost-effectively save energy, and have a lifetime of more than 10,000 hours.
Margery Conner, Technical Editor -- EDN, May 26, 2011
The 100-year-long reign of the incandescent light bulb is about to end. Rather than bemoaning its death, lighting-circuit designers would do well to see the opportunity in offering a light with instant-on, that dims without flicker, and that is reliable and cost-effective.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 dictates the phase-out of the incandescent light bulb starting in 2012 (Reference 1). The bill does not specifically ban incandescent lights: You will still be able to buy any incandescent light that can meet the act’s efficacy specification of a 25% improvement in incandescent-light output. The lights are notoriously poor producers of usable light, however. They lose 96% of the power they use to heat; hence, Hasbro uses them as the heating element in the Easy-Bake toy oven. So far, no one has discovered a cost-effective way of coaxing more light and less heat from incandescent lights.
Nevertheless, both state and national governments, as well as consumers’ preference for saving money in the face of rising energy costs, are signaling the end of the line for common incandescent light bulbs. Herein lies an opportunity for engineers in creating lights that not only replace incandescents but also enhance the home or commercial environment through automatic energy savings and create a pleasant lighting environment.
Lighting technologies such as LED, fluorescent, and halogen are vying to become the new ubiquitous light source. The challenge in the near future is to provide a lighting experience that matches consumers’ expectations for how a light should work. Consumers don’t necessarily want incandescent lights but rather lighting “experiences” that match their expectations—lights that come on instantly; work with currently installed light switches, including TRIAC (triode-alternating-current)-based dimmers; deliver a warm- to bright-white light; cost-effectively save energy, and have lifetimes of more than 10,000 hours.
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Labels: 2012, energy independence and security act 2007, incandescent light bulb ban imminent, US