MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The new year may be a confusing time when you’re buying light bulbs. New national light bulb rules take effect Jan. 1, 2012, when new standards require light bulbs to be 25 percent more efficient.

The idea is that Thomas Edison’s invention is now energy inefficient, with 90 percent of the energy wasted as heat rather than light.

Now here’s where it gets a little confusing — this month Congress barred the funds to enforce the new law. A measure attached to a one-year spending bill bars the Department of Energy from enforcing the standard through September of 2012, but manufacturers who have prepared for the change are still on board.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, companies will no longer be making the old 100-watt incandescent bulb, then the standards become more strict with each passing year.

In 2013, the 75 watt bulb will be phased out, and finally in 2014, the 40 and 60 watt bulbs will follow.

Settergren’s Hardware store in Linden Hills is already preparing for the switch. Owner Mark Settergren says the 100 watt incandescents can still be purchased, but will remain on the shelves until they sell out.

“We’ll just follow the rules and slowly they will disappear,” said Settergren.

He expects the market to turn to CFL’s (compact florescent light bulbs) as a transitional light bulb.

“The big advantage of a CFL is how long it will last, up to ten times longer than a regular light bulb, and it also uses 75 percent less energy,” said Settergren.

But many see the LED (light emitting diode) as the light bulb of the future because they are dimmable, mercury free, and longest lasting. A flood light at Settergren’s cost nearly $35, but it is expected to last more than 22 years.

At Xcel Energy, energy efficiency engineer Bruce Boerner calculates energy savings, and believes the extra money for LEDs’ is worthwhile.

“Those prices have come down significantly in past year, and 18 months, and they expect them will continue to drop dramatically as production ramps up,” said Boerner. “It’s one of the simplest and easiest things consumers can do to reduce their energy use.”

The new standards also require new labeling , the “lumens” listed on the front of a light bulb’s package, a measure of a bulb’s brightness. Labels must also include estimated yearly cost, and life span as well as color.

“The common sense standards President Bush put in place — with broad bipartisan support and strong backing from industry — will save families and businesses $6 billion on their utility bills during tough economic times. The incandescent light bulbs you’re used to will still be available, but they’ll cost you less on your electricity bill,” said Bill Gibbons, spokesperson for the Energy Department.

More information on the lighting choices available to consumers is online at www.energysavers.gov/lighting.

Comments (20)
  1. Larry F. says:

    Ummm… http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/dec/16/congress-overturns-incandescent-light-bulb-ban/

    1. Duh! says:

      Well then, what the heck CCO? If Larry F. figured this out, you maybe should have tried just a little RESEARCH prior to your fictitious story here, huh?

  2. huh says:

    What are the easy bake ovens going to use?!?!

    1. desert eagle .50 says:

      Ask Jackaction. It’s her 2nd favorite toy. Please be specific in your question to her.

  3. RIII says:

    Our land of the free has been taken over by Fascists.

    1. Yeah!! says:

      I bet these are same Fascist Commies who took the tubes out of our TVs.

      1. RIII says:

        When transistors and LCD’s replaced tubes in televisions our government did not force us common citizens to buy them by banning tube televisions, choice by consumers in a free market brought about the change. Congress members have become infamous for insider trading, it is not illegal for the ruling elite. Invest in compact florescent bulb companies/suppliers/distributors.., force the sheep to buy them, toss in expressions of nationalism and national security by saving energy so the sheep feel good and the other fools in Congress go along with it and they make a million. When their investments go bad they bail out the companies when there is competition they pass laws to protect their investments. Now go obey, sleep, eat and reproduce the government needs more sheep.

        1. Awwww!!! says:

          Your condescension is mighty cute, in a smugly arrogant sort of way.

          But such is the burden of such a superior intellect, is it not?

          1. Nawwww says:

            There’s truth there. It’s worked for me. Obama shows up at a “green energy” manufacturer, I sold and bought big oil. Obama shows up at a window manufacturer or MoTown, I sold and bought German. Obama shows up at Campbells Soup, I sold and bought McDonalds. It’s a volatile market. Much easier to for these goons to create “winners and losers” rather than try to pick ‘em.

    2. Yeah!! says:

      I bet these are same Fascist Commies who put fluoride in our drinking water.

  4. Well I'll Tell Ya says:

    They can have my 100 watter when they pry it from my cold dead hand.

  5. Bob the Scientist says:

    When people start dying from drinking water contaminated with mercury from people throwing their compact florescents into the trash…it’ll be too late.

    Once mercury gets in the ground water we are toast.

    And yes, people will throw mercury laden florescent bulbs in the trash.

    1. Sam says:

      Yep, Bob. The fluorescent bulbs will likely end up with a miniscule amount of mercury added to the water by the people who are too lazy to properly dispose of them.
      Of course, the coal-burning power plants that Minnesotans are so proud of, and that the GOP pushes to build more of, actually put mercury into the air… and those extremely inefficient incandescent bulbs will cause more electricity to be used, thus putting more mercury into the air, from which it will fall with the rain, and end up in our water supply anyway.

      Also, if you don’t want to use the fluorescent bulbs, the LED bulbs are still an option. And, for the time being, only the really big bulbs are being affected. Technology will get better and cheaper as the bans on the lower wattage bulbs hit.

      @Larry and Duh!: I suggest you actually read the article Larry posted. The title is misleading. What it said is that Congress refused the provision of funds to enforce the law… which is stated in WCCO’s own article here.

      1. Let me guess... says:

        Birkenstocks, hemp, and a save the dolphins bumper sticker. Sweet.

      2. Joe the Environmentalist says:

        LED bulbs take more energy to produce than they save.

        That is why people aren’t buying them. DUH.

        This is like the ethonol fiasco. It takes more energy to produce ethonol and it creates more pollution than fossil fuels.

        You intentions are good and I share them. I want a clean environment, but you are stupid and these policies do more harm than good.

  6. kevin says:

    I have bought thousands of real lights….I dont want mercury around me…

  7. Goober says:

    All to buy the vote of a few Greenie Azhlz.

  8. Citizen says:

    Mercury is hazardous. I get that, but I never see any articles about the silver mercury filings in our teeth. Are they okay? How about an article about that?

    1. Good Question says:

      Since I have a mouth full. Looked it up on Mayo Clinic website. Short answer is “Most metal dental fillings are dental amalgam — a stable alloy made with mercury, silver, tin, copper and possibly other metals. Although concerns have been raised over the years about the safety of mercury in dental amalgam, researchers have proved the concerns to be unfounded. The American Dental Association supports the use of dental amalgam as a safe, reliable and effective treatment for dental decay.” Still have to wonder.

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