Governments worldwide have enacted legislation with the goal of phasing out the use of incandescent light bulbs in favor of more environmentally friendly alternatives. Incandescent light bulbs use a filament wire that is illuminated by electricity; however, the light bulbs are inefficient at converting large quantities of electricity into visible light. Newer light bulb choices are environmentally friendly and energy-efficient. The most popular new light bulbs currently replacing incandescent bulbs include LEDs, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), and halogen bulbs.
The legislation responsible for light bulb changes in the U.S. is the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). Congress passed this law under President George Bush. While some people began buying incandescent light bulbs in bulk after this law was passed, due to fear and misconceptions regarding the safety of new bulbs, the government has provided numerous resources to prove the safety of LED and CFLs. Consumers do not need to discard their current light bulbs, as this is not a matter of a recall. Instead, manufacturers are designing new light bulbs that meet current energy standards, and as old bulbs die, they will be replaced with more-efficient ones. For instance, a 23-watt CFL or a 72-watt halogen light bulb now replace a traditional 100-watt incandescent light bulb.
Those choosing between new light bulbs will need to know the differences between each type in order to select the best bulb for their needs. There are multiple differences between LED light bulbs, CFLs, and incandescent bulbs. An LED, or light-emitting diode, light bulb uses a diode as its primary light source. Additionally, LED lights use a spectrum of colors in order to create white light. They are also directional, meaning they are more efficient for aiming at different tasks, as opposed to incandescent and CFLs that are multi-directional. The greatest advantages seen with newer, energy-efficient light bulbs over incandescent bulbs are in life span. For example, the average life span of an incandescent light bulb is approximately 1,200 hours; a CFL bulb's life span is roughly 8,000 hours, while an LED light bulb can last for 50,000 hours. While LED lights may cost more than an incandescent bulb up front, the life span of the LED bulb results in greater yearly savings on energy bills and a lower number of bulbs purchased throughout the year. Due to these advantages, LEDs have become the most popular choice in newer light bulb technology.
Learn more about new light bulbs and government laws at these sites:
How to Upgrade Your Incandescent Light Bulbs (PDF): This document discusses replacing incandescent light bulbs with newer LED models.
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs): The United States Environmental Protection Agency looks at the benefits of CFLs and how they help consumers save money and energy.
NPR's Guide to Changing Light Bulbs: NPR provides a thorough examination of the new types of light bulbs and their benefits.
Energy Star LED Bulb Challenge: Energy Star discusses the benefits of replacing standard light bulbs with Energy Star-certified LED models.
LEDs Emerge as Popular Green Lighting: The New York Times examines the environmental advantages of using LED light bulbs.
Inventing Six Modern Electric Lamps: The Smithsonian looks at six different and modern light bulbs and how they originated.
Energy Efficient Lighting (PDF): Learn about the different types of lighting choices in this document by the University of Washington.
New Light Bulb Standards: The California Energy Commission discusses new light bulb laws and provides an overview of current standards.
Shopping for Light Bulbs: The FTC provides this consumer guide to help shoppers compare and choose the most appropriate light bulbs for their needs.
Old Light Bulbs Out, New more Expensive Bulbs in for 2014: Fox 59 looks at the argument that the new light bulbs cost more than their incandescent counterparts.
Your Guide to More Efficient and Money Saving Light Bulbs (PDF): The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) provides a detailed chart that compares new, smart light bulbs in this document.
Light Bulb Ban Set to Take Effect: CNN looks at the light bulb ban and the changes smart light bulbs will mean for consumers.
Facts About Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (PDF): Natural Resources Canada examines the facts and misconceptions regarding CFLs.
LED Lighting Is So 2012: CNET looks at new developments in smart light bulbs.
Fact Sheet on Mercury in Compact Fluorescent Lamps: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment looks at CFLs and the controversies surrounding these new light bulbs.
LG's "Smart Lamp" Looks to Take on Philip's Hue: Fast Company looks at new LG light bulbs.
Lighting - Light Bulbs: The U.S. Department of Interior examines various types of light bulbs, including their projected energy cost savings per year.
Lighting Your Home (PDF): The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) provides tips for saving money by switching to energy-efficient light bulbs.
EWG's Guide to Light Bulbs (PDF): The Energy Working Group examines different light bulbs.
Benefits of Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL): The city of Newton, Massachusetts, explores multiple benefits of switching to CFL light bulbs.
SBU Study Reveals Harmful Effects of CFL Bulbs to Skin: Stony Brook University examines the dangers of ultraviolet rays from compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).
Separating Myth from Fact on CFL and LED Bulbs: National Geographic looks at concerns and questions regarding CFL and LED light bulb safety.
CFL Fact Sheet/FAQ: The FDA examines the safety aspects of using CFLs.
Information on Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) and Mercury (PDF): Columbia addresses frequently asked questions and concerns regarding CFLs.
Lighting Choices to Save You Money: The U.S. Energy Department points out the financial benefits of energy-efficient lighting.