MOUNT VERNON — As of Jan. 1, the familiar 100-watt incandescent light bulbs were no longer available for purchase within the United States because they do not meet new federal lighting efficiency standards. Seventy-five-watt incandescent bulbs will be gone in 2013 and 40- and 60-watt incandescent bulbs will be passé in 2014, leaving only incandescent bulbs of less than 40 watts on the market. That will impact the 5,000 light bulb manufacturers in China and the two incandescent light bulb makers in the United States — Sylvania and Aero-Tech Light Bulb Co.
“In five years,” said Ray Schlosser, owner of Aero-Tech Light Bulb Co., “you’re going to have trouble finding an incandescent bulb, although there are some exemptions in the Energy Act of 2007. If a bulb has a rubber coating on it’s exempt. If it’s rough service, it’s exempt. That means I’m exempt. I will continue to make 100-watt light bulbs.”
The switch to more efficient lamps nationwide could result in significant overall energy savings. The average home in the United States has 43 light sockets, said Schlosser, a total of 6 billion sockets for residential and 2 billion in industrial/commercial use. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that translates to about $6 billion in energy costs by 2015.
According to a fact sheet from American Electric Power, there are three main types of energy-saving lighting alternatives; Halogen incandescents, compact-fluorescent lamps [CFLs] and light-emitting diodes or LEDs. Besides saving energy, the alternatives typically last longer. Halogen incandescents are 25 percent more efficient and last up to three times longer. Compact-fluorescents are 75 percent more efficient and last up to 10 times longer. LEDs are up to 80 percent more efficient and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
Schlosser said saving energy is important, as is having a light bulb with a longer life, but there are some drawbacks. One is aesthetics; some people do not like the looks of the alternative bulbs.