Focus on Lighting: A Look Into Lamp Technology and Lighting Legislation

The federal government is pushing toward more energy efficient solutions with regard to lighting and lamp selections, or what is more commonly referred to as “going green”.

This will result in changes over the next couple of years with regard to the lamps that will be available for purchase. Several governments around the world, including the United States, have passed legislation that will phase out the incandescent light bulb for general lighting. The goal is to encourage the use and technology development of more energy efficient lighting alternatives such as halogen, compact fluorescents (CFLs) and the ever popular Light Emitting Diode (LED) which offer increased efficiency, decreased heat emissions and are significantly more economical than traditional incandescent lamps. (Technically speaking, a halogen lamp is an incandescent lamp, but it is more efficient than traditional incandescent as the result of the halogen technology and is usually considered separate from incandescent lamps.) This means “lights out” for Edison’s 131 year old lamp that still lights homes worldwide while wasting 90% of its energy as heat rather than light. While you won’t be required to throw out your old bulbs, you may be surprised when you are trying to find the same replacement lamps in stores.

The first phase of the process will bring an end to the production of the 100 watt A lamp in January 2012, the 75 watt in 2013, and the 60 and 40 watt counterparts by January 2014. This will also affect the availability of the T12 fluorescent tube which will be phased out by 2012.

The second phase will come into effect by 2020 and will require general purpose lamps to produce at least 45 lumens per watt, similar to the energy consumption experienced with CFLs. Subsequently, several states have adopted more stringent legislation which requires lamps to produce a minimum of twenty-five lumens per watt by 2013 and sixty lumens per watt by 2018.