News: What you need to know about the lightbulb law

NOTE: This article was originally published in November 2012.

Back in early 2007, Congress was working on the Energy Independence and Security Act to address the problem of inefficient lightbulbs. When word got out that they planned to ban incandescents, forcing everyone to buy expensive compact fluorescent lights (CFLs)—those flickering bulbs that look like pig’s tails—people were outraged. Many resorted to hoarding, buying up as many incandescent bulbs as possible before they were gone for good.

There was one problem: The government never banned incandescents. The new law was enacted to simply phase out inefficient lightbulbs in, as Congress stated, “a technology-neutral way.” The new law doesn’t ban incandescent lightbulbs, nor does it demand the use of CFLs or any other kind of bulb. It simply sets forth energy efficiency targets that go into effect in two phases: first in 2012, and again in 2020.

By the end of this year, household bulbs—be they incandescents, CFLs, LEDs, or halogens—must use 30 percent less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs. (The law was originally supposed to go into effect at the beginning of 2012, but Congress delayed it.) And while incandescents are not explicitly banned, the older, non-energy-efficient style is going to have an awfully hard time reaching that target.


Read more: What You Need to Know About the Lightbulb Law – Popular Mechanics

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