Tea Party to Save the Incandescent Light Bulb

I don't usually agree with Tea Partyers, but they've got my support on this issue: House Republicans are bringing up legislation to save the incandescent light bulb, which is slated to be phased out by 2020.

The law has been dubbed "the light bulb ban" by activists on the right and has struck a Tea Party nerve. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann have all called it government intrusion par excellence. It essentially mandates that no new bulbs can go on the market after January '12 without meeting a new, higher standard of energy efficiency. Bulbs that don't meet the standard but that are already in stores won't be taken off shelves.

"It is one of those issues out there that just inflames people," Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, co-sponsor of the bill that would reverse the phaseout, told Politico. "What in the world were you doing restricting the kinds of light bulbs in my home?"

Environment schmenvironment - gimme my inefficient yet glowingly beautiful incandescent light bulb! Link (Photo: Shutterstock)

Previously on Neatorama: How the Federal Government Killed a Perfectly Good Washing Machine

Don't believe the TP disinformation. The act in question doesn't ban incandescent bulbs, only requires that they be made more efficient. I agree, the quality of light is superior, but opposing the imposition of efficiency standards is just dumb.

You'll still be able to get incandescent bulbs.

From an ACEEE mail-out:

The Facts:
• Incandescent bulbs aren't getting banned... in fact, they are getting better. Manufacturers are already making a variety of new energy-saving bulbs for homes, including more efficient incandescent bulbs.
• The new incandescent bulbs look, light, and turn on exactly like the bulbs we have been using for decades, but are 28 to 33 percent more energy efficient and are available in stores now.
• Consumers aren't required to "retire" bulbs or to purchase only CFL or LED light bulbs ---- consumers can use existing bulbs until they burn out and when a bulb burns out consumers can choose between efficient incandescent lamps or even more efficient CFL or LED light bulb options.
• The lighting industry supports this standard, along with efficiency, consumer, and environmental advocates.
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YIKES. What is your problem? The compact florescent bulb is available in different color temperatures, we found the one we like and after replacing every single bulb in our home (considerable number as we have recessed fixtures in our kitchen, living room and dining room in addition to many table lamps) the next full month electric bill with those lights cut our power consumption practically in half! The bulbs generate less heat than incandescent bulbs. The new LED bulbs are going to be even better and I have seen they have replacements for long florescent tubes on the way. The energy savings is incredible. Move with the times.
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I had incandescent bulbs in the ceiling fixture in my bedroom. One burnt out, making it rather dim. So I replaced them both with CFLs. It is just as dim, if not dimmer, for at least 10 to 15 minutes, until the bulbs warm up. And if one gets broken, I am supposed to leave the room for 1/2 an hour? That's more environmentally friendly?
I like my incandescent, living in northern Canada, if it's dark enough to warrant a light, it's cold enough to welcome its heat!
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Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann have all called it government intrusion par excellence? Maybe they weren't here when this bill was passed by George Bush? No credibility on the (f)right.
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Here's my trouble with energy efficient lightbulbs. I understand there is a wattage conversion. If you use a "curly cue" type energy efficient bulb, a 10W is equivalent to a 40W incandescent bulb. 18W is 60W and 25W is 100W, etc. So. I hate how they are different sizes. The incandescent bulbs are all the same size. But the energy efficient bulbs are smaller or larger depending on their wattage. The wattage obviously effects how bright the bulb is. My problem is that I have lamps in my house that use 100W bulbs. But when I put an energy efficient 25W bulb in them, the bulb sticks out above the lampshade and looks ridiculous. It totally defeats the purpose of the lampshade and blinds you. So the solution is to put in a lower watt (smaller size) energy efficient bulb that fits under the lampshade but doesn't light the room nearly well enough. It looks like the room is lit with a single dim candle. This frustrates the hell out of me. So for those lamps, I still use the old school incandescent light bulb. Sigh.
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The propaganda here about the wonderful new CFL world is touching in its naivety. Almost everybody has tried CFLs. They aren't very popular. Hence the law forcing them on us. CFLs are expensive. I've tried a lot, even the pricier ones. The light is nasty. It often has a delay before getting bright. They create a miserable room. I finally gave up and stocked up on soon-to-be-banned incandescents.

Oh, and StaggerLee - nobody ares about the wombs. It's the whole killing-the-baby thing that gets peoples' goats.
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I've said it before, I'll say it again:

The law in question requires manufacturers to make more efficient INCANDESCENT lightbulbs.

If you like those better than CFLs, you can still buy them. They'll just use less electricity to produce the same amount of light.

This is a no-brainer.
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If ,as BamaGuy1024 says, CFLs are far superior and save money in the long run, people will use them. If more efficient incandescent bulbs are on their way, people will use them. But it is not the government's role to pass a law forcing this transition.

Nobody has mentioned the mercury issue, either.

And Matthew M has it right, it's not the womb, it's terminating another human's life. I have the same opinion about capital punishment. Society should never condone killing *anyone*.
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Do you really think this is about light bulbs? Don't be silly.

It's about the extreme right's standing policy of making a big stink and not giving "the enemy" what they want, no matter how harmless or sensible it is. It's always equated to the loss of "freedom."

"You're taking away my freedom to use a certain kind of light bulb in my own home!"


Hey Burgess, do you also want to bring back CFC aerosol cans? Our freedom to use them was taken away! How about government standards for household appliances? They took away our freedom to buy energy-inefficient refrigerators from the 60's! Auto emissions? That's just a big old freedom-robbing conspiracy is what that is.
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Um...what about government mandates for fuel efficiency in cars.

If the gubbermint can't force more efficient light bulbs, why can they force more efficient cars?
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Incandescent bulbs have been banned in the EU since Sept 2009 and I'm pretty sure they are ok. Society must advance technology in order to better itself and holding on to an old and inefficient technology isn't beneficial in the long-run. (Think government switching all television from analog to digital)

By forcing companies to focus on this newer technology, prices will fall and quality of the product will increase. If consumers demand better light quality, companies will compete to deliver such a product and capitalize on increased market share.

Its also safe to say that LED light bulbs will become the norm. They have had huge technological advances in the last few years making them brighter and more efficient. Plus no mercury!

It's not a matter of freedom to use incandescent, it's a matter of intelligent societal advancement.
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This bill does not outlaw incadescent bulbs. It was meant to get manufacturers to get off their behinds and improve them. Traditional bulbs waste 90% of the power they use. They were never going to do anything about unless they were forced. Just like seat belts, air bags and gas mileage on cars.
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I especially like the added benefit of the hum we get from the florescent bulbs. Musical light bulbs! And the way they SLOOOOOWly get brighter.

Actually about half of the lighting in my house is incandescent. I like the fact that florescent bulbs last longer and use less energy, but you just don't get that warm glow that incandescent bulbs provide. Especially on Christmas trees... please!

I think we should have a choice in this.
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I wonder if I'll still be able to buy 60 watt screw-in heating elements.
Seriously, I live in a cold place and appreciate the extra heat if incandescents. It's not wasted energy in my house.
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The whole point of this legislation is that the federal government is setting energy standards that they KNOW cannot be achieved with incandescent light bulbs. They are indeed outlawing the bulbs because of this fact. However, the government and people like yourself can claim otherwise because the law itself does not ban incandescent bulbs by name.

No one has ever shown a true life-cost comparison between fluorescent and incandescent bulbs. (This is a total cost from procurement of raw materials, manufacture, shipping, cost of lifetime use, and disposal.) Add to that the fact that improper disposal of fluorescent bulbs pollutes the environment with mercury.

One other issue with calculating the cost of incandescent vs. fluorescent bulbs is when you calculate the energy "lost" as heat from an incandescent bulb. In my home I run the furnace for heat about five months out of the year, and the air conditioning for cooling about another five months. During the cooling season, heat from the bulbs increases the amount the air conditioner has to run. However, this is offset by the five months in which the heat from light bulbs in my home actually HELP heat the home. In fact, since the heating season is the part of the year when daylight is shortest (and the bulbs are burned more hours of the day) I would bet that the energy used to help heat more than balances out the extra air conditioning used in the summer months.
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This is completely irresponsible. So it'll most likely go through in the States.

Whereas the rest of the world doesn't seem to have an issue with converting to CFL and LED solutions, considerably reducing energy needs and hence the pollution involved with creating that energy, the world's largest polluting country by population wants to just keep going.

Bravo. Slow clap. "We'll do our part... as long as it doesn't cost anything or change my artificial light color a tad."

What a farce. On the world stage it really is becoming the United States of Embarrassment.

Somebody in a comment mentioned that incandescent bulbs are now 28 to 33 more efficient. That's not an argument for anything positive. if a 12W CFL = 60W incandescent that right there is 80% efficiency. So the only thing the 28 - 33 proves is that incandescent bulbs are still inefficient even in their most improved state.

Rant over.
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It was apparent a priori that nobody commenting on this was going to budge their opinions on this one inch in light of the article itself.

In light of the expensive and elaborate cleanup cost of broken mercury bulbs, it would sure be a shame if people kept breaking them on the steps of congress until they got the message that these can be a giant, expensive hassle. Much like congress.
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My wife and I recently bought an old house that had CFL bulbs in all the ceiling lights. We painted the baby's room a nice sunny yellow and it looked great in the daylight, but at night, under the CFL's the room became the colour of bile. Needless to say, we switched to the good ol' incandescent light bulb, and the room became pleasant again. I'll gladly pay more on my electrical bill to feel comfortable in my home. I'm in Canada too, so any "wasted energy" coming off the bulb as heat is welcomed. In fact, it reduces the number of baby seals that I need to burn to keep warm in the winter.
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It's a pity they didn't just tax energy use 5÷ and let people figure out for themselves how to reduce energy use; the tax income could be applied towards fixing up our archaic power grid so it doesn't fail when it gets cold outside.
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What impossible standards? Several companies are ALREADY SELLING incandescent bulbs that meet the proposed standards.

Keep your pants on, people.
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I refuse to use anything with mercury in it. God knows how many are crushed and broken in landfills or dumped in the desert. I'm buying LEDs now and I wish the CFLs were banned as hazards.

As for the "extreme" right not protesting when this was passed under W's watch? Try reading some rightwing blogs on occasion instead of villifying them for what's said by others--I've found a good perspective is based on hearing both sides.
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Note that the extreme right is not the same as the moderate right. Beck, Rush, etc, are very much the voices of the extreme right.

They can and do turn on their own. See: Boehner and the debt ceiling debate.
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The mercury issue's a bit of a red herring.

If you use electricity from a coal-fired power plant, that plant emits TONS of mercury into the atmosphere, destroying any theoretical advantage in that regard from CFLs. Plus, the emitted mercury almost certainly winds up in your air, water, soil, etc.

The EPA figures that *including the mercury in the lamp,* a CFL over its lifetime is responsible for about 1/3 the Hg that an equivalently-powered incandescent causes to be emitted.

Reducing landfilling of CFLs would reduce Hg emissions even further. Which is why recycling for CFLs is widespread. Every Lowe's, Target, Home Depot, and Ace Hardware in the US takes CFLs for recycling.
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The mercury issue really isn't a red herring when you consider that the mercury in a broken CFL gets released entirely within your home - on your couch, as happened to a friend of mine, or on your kitchen table, as happened to me. This is a very different exposure than mercury in coal exhaust, which is diluted throughout the atmosphere. It's a real pain to clean up. Furthermore, I'd guess that lots more mercury gets released directly into the water table from CFLs in landfills. (Many, if not most, people will not bother to dispose of them properly, no matter how many big box stores accept them for recycling.)

Sorry, but I'll prefer to use "heatballs" until LEDs start to drop in price.
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We use florescent ones now, but we still keep some incandescent on hand for when we go on vacation because only they can dim with the timers we have. Have yet to have to replace a florescent bulb, but the bloody incandescent burn out so often and I get tired of changing them.
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Noelegy, I work for the government... the Department of the Treasury to be exact. Tea Party members find it humorous to constantly send us envelopes with tea bags in them instead of their taxes; humorous of course until they're audited. If they didn't want to be called "tea baggers" then maybe they shouldn't physically send tea bags to government employees through the mail.
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Wow, I can't believe you are so selfish and dense that you would agree with this lunk-headed piece of garbage legislation. If we do not lower our energy usage we can look forward to decades more wasteful wars in the Middle-East to secure the last of their energy (and more dead American kids and lost money)and infinite rising global temperatures, just so that the spoiled children of the empire (you) can have their pretty lights. CFL's are superior to incandescent lights in EVERY way, and while I will miss the old bulbs too, I realize that they are wasteful and unnecessary. Please educate yourself on this issue!
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With or without the legislation, companies will stop manufacturing old-style bulbs eventually. Most of the world will switch to newer light sources, and the manufacturers will have to follow demand.

No sense in freaking over CFLs anyway. It's true that the light is less yellow and that they take a while to get going (especially the older ones). Also, the "equivalent wattage" claims are full of BS. Multiply by three, not four or five.

But they'll soon be replaced by LEDs.
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Umm, debt ceiling? I don't care about what lightbulbs I use, as long as I can buy them at the store. There's lots of people that don't even have running water, and we're fighting over lightbulbs? Holy hell!
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My eyes are extremely sensitive to florescent light. I constantly see a strobe effect, and the light itself is both very dim and glaring (yes, I know that doesn't make sense, but it is). Within minutes I feel nasua and headaches.

But I guess it's "tough luck" for people like me. It's not like I need any more reasons to hate leftist statists.
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And the people who are claiming that this isn't a "ban" are lying. This, in essence, is clearly a ban on the conventional light bulb by making the "efficiency standards" beyond reach.

To all the lefties clapping their little hands in joy over this blatant intrusion in peoples' lives - the axe can very easily swing the other way. You won't be so giddy when the right-wingers are micromanaging YOUR life. What will stop them now that the barn door is open?
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As others have stated, there are already incandescents that meet the efficiency standards. We'll it looks like it was possible to improve incadescent bulbs, wasn't it?

As for your theory of how inefficient bulbs save energy by helping us heat our homes. Do you run around your house in the winter yelling at the kids to stop turning off all the lights in the house because it runs up your electric bill?
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How about getting your own facts straight before calling other people liars.

First, this ISN'T a ban. It's not even an indirect ban that imposes impossible standards, as you claim. As stated multiple times in the comments, manufacturers are already selling incandescent bulbs that meet these proposed energy standards.

The higher-efficiency incandescent bulbs give off the same quality of light using less energy. You can get them, today, at any Lowes or Home Depot.

Second, read the article. This was a law signed by G.W. Bush, not a "leftist tactic."

Creating safety and energy standards isn't "micromanaging" people's lives, it's called "raising the quality of life." It's the responsibility of any worthwhile government. Not to mention the enormous savings to both you and the government. Where's the downside?

Or do you prefer living in an asbestos lined house covered in lead-based paint, running CFC-leaking appliances that guzzle significantly more energy?

But yeah, you're probably right. The distinct lack of 7 MPG gas guzzlers on the market is just a leftist plot to take away your personal freedom. Better not use those state-run roads, either. The gub'mint can't tell ME where to drive! And the U.S. Postal Service? That socialist organization can go back to communist Russia where it came from.

And, nope, the right doesn't want to micromanage your life at all... unless you happen to be homosexual. Or pregnant. Or chronically ill. In which case they will be more than happy to provide a clear rubric of the personal/human rights you should not be allowed.

Ignore things like the Bush-era Patriot Act. This "leftist statist" light bulb issue is CLEARLY the bigger invasion into our personal liberties.

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This should be clear...

1. It is a BAN:
All known - and New Incandescents - banned by 2020,
see the 2007 Energy Act, 2nd Phase:
45 lumen per watt minimum specification, which no incandescent can meet,
and which the profit-seeking CFL-pushing manufacturers behind the ban would be unlikely to pursue anyway.

2. The supposed amount of ENERGY savings are also not there
(only c2% grid electricity savings, see the DOE etc data http://ceolas.net/#li171x ),
and even they were,
there are much better and more relevant energy savings in Electricity Generation and Grid Distribution as well as Consumption, as described on the website.
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3. Moreover:
Consumers as a whole will hardly save MONEY – regardless of what the energy savings are.

That is not just in having to pay more for the light bulbs as an initial cost
(or being forced to pay for them, via taxpayer CFL programs)

- but also because electricity companies are being taxpayer subsidised
or allowed to raise Bill rates to compensate for any reduced electricity use, as already seen both federally and in California, Ohio etc, and before them in the UK and other European countries
See http://ceolas.net/#californiacfl
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To paraphrase Casablanca, maybe we will always have Paris,
or at least Paris, Texas!

(Texas legislated local light bulb freedom bill June 17th
also with updates on other States local repeal bills)
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Um... Didn't we just require the entire country change out their TV set or at least get a converter..? You're right those of you who say this is about pushback against the current system by a group of political idealists on the concervatie side who wouldn't care if this was the best idea in the world "if it came from that 'non-American' in the White House." Dimwits.. or rather... Dim bulbs..
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What would have Hitler do? Sorry, 49 posts and no 'Hitler yet ;)

More seriously : I sell CFLs, and as they're replacing the old ones as we write, the industrial cost is dropping fast, and so the retail price. I think in a year or so CFLs will be competitive with old light bulbs. And nobody will argue anymore.

Ah, and the best replacement for the old ligthbulbs are the halogen lightbulb with the same shape as the old ones.
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More on why it is a BAN:

since comments here and regulation activists try and
deceive people about it..

2007 Energy Act, Second Phase, implementation before 2020:
45 lumen per watt minimum specification, which no known incandescent -"New efficient" or otherwise - can meet,
and which the profit-seeking CFL-pushing manufacturers behind the ban would be unlikely to pursue anyway.

"BACKSTOP REQUIREMENT— if the final rule [not later than January 1, 2017] does not produce savings that are greater than or equal to the savings from a minimum efficacy standard of 45 lumens per watt, effective beginning January 1, 2020, the Secretary shall prohibit the sale of any general service lamp that does not meet a minimum efficacy standard of 45 lumens per watt"

The EIA (see their press releases)
also confirm that any lamp on the market in 2020
"will have to be as efficient as CFLs" by such time.

MORE: The basic intent of replacing incandescent technology is also made clear in section 321 of the Act:
"The Secretary of Energy shall report to Congress on the time frame
for commercialization of lighting to REPLACE incandescent AND halogen
incandescent lamp technology"
(Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007/Title III/Subtitle B/Section 321)
Note: It says "replace" not "improve"....

More on the ACTUAL regulations
with links to the original Act and relevant sections:
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I installed dimmers on every switch in my house. I like the ability to run my lights full power if needed, or very dim at night. You can't do that with cfl lights. I don't know about LEDs. I bought a few cfls, but went back to incandescent bulbs. No cfl for my house...
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