News Analysis

Lights Out for the Incandescent Lamp?

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) seem to have reached widespread acceptance: large retailers such as Wal-Mart are encouraging their customers to purchase the energy-saving lamps, Chinese manufacturing has significantly reduced costs, and rebates are available for them in some areas. Now there are several initiatives to ban the sale and use of incandescent light bulbs both in the U.S. and abroad.

These moves to ban and phase out inefficient lamps have taken several forms. In Australia, where the government hopes to phase out incandescent bulbs by 2012, environment minister Malcolm Turnbull has proposed a series of efficiency requirements for lighting devices that older, inefficient, incandescent lamps could not meet. In California, assembly member Lloyd Levine has introduced a bill that would both set a minimum level of operating efficacy for lamps and prohibit the sale of incandescent bulbs. New Jersey assemblyman Larry Chatzidakis has introduced a bill that would require the state both to replace incandescents with CFLs within three years and to educate the public on the benefits of the energy-saving lamps.

Published April 5, 2007