Era of incandescent light bulb is nearly over
Companies must stop making them by Jan. 1; they will disappear from store shelves by summer 2023
Over the past decade, stores have moved away from stocking older incandescent bulbs to energy efficient LEDs. And soon those old bulbs will be fading out.
Thomas Edison had a bright idea not far from a small museum in Menlo Park, N.J. In 1879, the inventor switched on his version of the light bulb.
“The first light bulb that he would sell commercially had a bamboo filament,” said Kathleen Carlucci, director of the Thomas Edison Center.
Later versions of Edison’s bulb lit up the world for more than a century.
But soon, incandescent bulbs will fade out of U.S. stores. The Energy Department has finalized rules that will require manufacturers to only sell more energy-efficient light bulbs like LEDs.
Companies must stop manufacturing incandescent bulbs by Jan. 1. The bulbs will disappear from store shelves by the summer of 2023.
“Stores will be phasing them out, but they will no longer be legally sellable as of July 2023,” said Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
He helped negotiate the 2007 legislation that put more LED bulbs on the market. And millions of Americans have made the switch.
In 2020, Nadel said, only about 30% of light bulbs sold in the U.S. were incandescent or halogen incandescent bulbs.
LEDs are more expensive but can last up to 50 times longer. The Biden administration believes that will save Americans nearly $3 billion a year on utility bills and help the environment.
“It means very substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions, helping to reduce climate change,” Nadel said.
When asked what Edison would think of this move, Carlucci said: “We think that he would love it because he was always making improvements and going forward.”
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