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Here's why the government implemented standards to practically outlaw incandescent bulbs

"This transition is saving people money."

"This transition is saving people money."

Photo Credit: iStock

Last year, the United States implemented new energy-efficiency standards for light bulbs, which, in effect, banned energy-wasting incandescents.

What are the new energy-efficiency standards for light bulbs?

In April 2022, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that light bulbs would need to have an output of at least 45 lumens per watt. A ban on the manufacture and sale of light bulbs that did not meet these standards went into effect on Aug. 1, 2023

This rule change indirectly banned traditional incandescent light bulbs, which produce around 15 lumens per watt. Meanwhile, their LED companions can produce five times that, according to information from a report by bulb maker Phillips.

There are a few exceptions to the rule change: black lights, bug lamps, colored lamps, infrared lamps, plant lights, flood lights, reflector lamps, and traffic signals. Consumers can continue to use any incandescent light bulbs that they still have in their homes.

Chances are most Americans didn't even notice a difference in the light bulb aisle after the rule went into effect.

"Most major retailers stopped selling the inefficient bulbs months ago, and I don't think very many people even noticed," Andrew DeLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, told ABC News. "This transition is saving people money and reducing our climate impact so it's a win-win."

Why are the new energy efficiency standards for light bulbs important?

The use of energy-efficient LED light bulbs is expected to save Americans money, to the tune of $3 billion annually, according to the DOE. The department estimates that the average family will conserve $100 a year on utility bills on this and other energy-efficiency measures.

Swapping out incandescent light bulbs for LEDs is just one way to save money on energy bills. Unplugging appliances when they aren't in use, weatherizing your home, and installing a heat pump are just a few other things you can do that could save you hundreds of dollars annually.

All this energy conservation is a win for the environment. The DOE estimates that the light bulb efficiency rule change will cut carbon pollution by about 245 million tons over the next three decades. This is about the same amount of pollution generated by 28 million homes in one year, the department said in its release.

LED light bulbs also last 25 to 50 times longer than traditional light bulbs. This will help reduce landfill waste.

And they're even safer, as they stay cool to the touch, posing less of a fire and burn hazard than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Plus, people just like them.

"I think what's been misunderstood somewhat is that LEDs were winning in the marketplace, even before this standard took effect," DeLaski told Vox. "And that's because consumers liked them. They prefer them because they save them money, they provide the same or better light as the bulbs they replace, and they last 10 to 25 times longer."

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