Somewhere, one last time, a lone bulb dangling in a dusty attic just flickered out.
The Biden administration has officially banned the sale of energy-inefficient light bulbs, effective August 1. Moving forward, retailers will no longer be able to sell light bulbs that aren’t able to achieve 45 lumens — or brightness — per watt. In layperson’s terms, this means you’ll only be able to buy modern LEDs, not old-school incandescent bulbs.
By banning outdated bulbs, the White House hopes to cut down on wasteful energy sources and decrease the nation’s emissions.
This new rule change will only apply to manufacturers, distributors, and retailers — not consumers.
Companies that continue to sell traditional incandescent and halogen light bulbs could face a fine of up to $542 for every violation. Households may continue to use whichever bulbs they please, so if you haven’t changed your basement lights in forever, don’t worry. The only fine you’ll face is a potentially higher electricity bill.
The ban only applies to incandescent light bulbs commonly used in homes. It doesn’t apply to specialty bulbs, three-way bulbs, chandelier bulbs, refrigerator bulbs, plant grow lights, or other types of special use bulbs.
The driving force behind the decision to ban incandescent light bulbs is climate change.
Older light bulbs are surprisingly inefficient. 90% of the energy they produce is wasted as heat. Scientists also estimate 5% of greenhouse gas emissions are a byproduct of lighting. A widespread ban on these bulbs could potentially put a dent in emissions across the country.
Unfortunately, LED bulbs are roughly four times as expensive as incandescents. But they also last anywhere from 25 to 50 times longer. When your old bulbs finally burn out, you may find yourself spending a little more at checkout. But you’ll likely also find it’s a lot longer before you have to check out again.
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