Planet Gore

Say Goodbye to 75 Watt Light Bulbs in 2013

The march to end the incandescent light bulb renewed . . .

HOUSTON — At the Light Bulb Depot near his home in The Heights, Randy Gingrich just bought another batch of florescent bulbs.

“Since I started three years ago, I haven’t replaced a compact fluorescent yet,” he says. “So I’m happy with that.”

“In my ceiling fans, each one of mine has four lights,” says Allen Tabb, who’s been selling light bulbs for 16 years. “So instead of using 240 watts of electricity, I only use 60 watts of electricity. And I get the same light output.”

Sure, fluorescent bulbs are more expensive than old-fashioned incandescent bulbs and some people complain about losing a special glow in their homes. But in the long run, homeowners say they’re cheaper.

Besides, pretty soon Americans won’t have much choice.

As the New Year arrives, new rules bring the nation closer to the end of the traditional incandescent light bulb. Energy efficiency legislation adopted by Congress and signed by former President George W. Bush in 2007 is gradually phasing out the standard bulbs that have illuminated American homes for more than a century.

The new rules have applied to 100 watt bulbs since the beginning of 2012. In 2013, the restrictions have expanded to 75 watt bulbs. In January 2014, the new rules will apply to 60 and 40 watt bulbs.

The regulations don’t exactly ban incandescent bulbs. Some bulbs reportedly could meet the new standards, although they would be markedly more expensive. And many types of specialty bulbs have been exempted from the law.

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