The New Old Bulb

by Henry Payne

While European light-makers are finding ways around Europe’s outright ban on incandescent bulbs, U.S. makers have a larger loophole, given the fact that the U.S. “ban the bulb” legislation takes effect incrementally: new energy-efficiency standards will apply to 100-watt bulbs next year, and to 40-watt bulbs by 2014.

The upshot is that U.S. consumers will still have access to incandescents — though more expensive access.

According to Michigan Chandeliers Sales Manager John Testasecca, manufacturers are already working on a halogen filament bulb that will be more efficient than the traditional tungsten bulb.

Of course, tungsten has been the traditional filament for cost reasons, meaning that coming halogen-filament incandescent replacements, Testasecca says, will be “2-5 times more expensive than the traditional 50 cent bulb.” (Sounds a bit like “alternative” electric cars that Washington prefers, huh? An electric Chevy Volt costs a more than double a “traditional” Chevy Cruze.)

Michigan Chandaliers customers are mostly contractors and Testasecca says they prefer incandescents for a variety of reasons. But the biggest reason is cost.

As a result, he still stocks tungsten incandescents and says manufacturers are cranking out big surpluses for sale beyond the fed’s manufacture ban. If we keep the pressure on legislators like Fred Upton to overturn this intrusion on consumer choice, that day may never come.

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