Consumers in the United States have been witnessing the gradual disappearance of old general-purpose incandescent light bulbs from store shelves since 2012. This is happening because of the adoption of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which bans the manufacture and sale of certain bulbs. The 100-watt bulb was the first to go, phased out in 2012. It was followed by the 75-watt bulb this year. Now, as 2014 begins, 40- and 60-watt bulbs will begin to disappear as well. Retailers will be able to sell existing inventory, but no new bulbs with these wattages will be made.
The other day I found myself at a loss in the light bulb aisle of my hardware store. I might as well have been shopping for a carburetor. There were too many options with too many symbols and verbiage that I couldn’t decipher (LED, CFL, halogen, lumens, Kelvin, CRI), not to mention all of the various brands (GE, Philips, Cree, EcoSmart — each with its own packaging lingo). Since when do you need an electrical engineering degree to buy a light bulb?
This North Carolina maker of light emitting diodes aims to kill off the incandescent lightbulb. It’s already doubled its market cap to $7 billion in just one year.
In the ad for Cree lightbulbs you see snow whipping across a desolate field as a bagpipe creaks out “Amazing Grace.” An announcer holds up a lightbulb and speaks into the camera. “Mr. Edison, today we lay to rest your creation, the incandescent lightbulb. I know you’re not shocked, sir. You knew that it needed an unreasonable amount of energy to do its job and that it had the life span of a lucky bug.”
He fits the bulb into a tiny wooden casket and places it into a hole in the ground. Then we see Cree’s new LED bulb. “The biggest thing since the lightbulb,” we’re told. Continue reading
100 watt incandescent light bulbs are no longer being manufactured. From now until 2014, standard A-line 100 to 40 watt incandescent light bulbs must use 30% less energy but produce the same amount of light that incandescent bulbs use today. Continue reading