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Incandescent Light Bulb Ban - Funding Prohibited, but How Long?

Incandescent Light Bulb Ban?
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 is an Act of Congress that includes an incandescent bulb phase out. The act has since been termed by many as the "Incandescent Light Bulb Ban," resulting in heated debates and raising fears in consumers who are not ready to make the switch from traditional lighting to energy saving lighting technologies such as LED bulbs.

What is the Incandescent Light Bulb Ban?

While some claim the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 aims to ban incandescent light bulbs, that is not exactly the case. The act sets standards for energy efficiency, including incandescent bulbs, with a goal to find more energy efficient lighting and alternate forms of energy. Incandescent bulb standards were to improve efficiency 25-30% by 2012-2014.

Incandescent Bulb Phase Out Timeline
The plan was to phase out incandescent bulbs by 2012. 100 watt bulbs were removed from retail shelves almost immediately, with 60 watt bulbs next on the list. Lighting manufacturers began offering alternate forms of lighting instead of re-working the traditional incandescent bulbs to save on energy, and stores such as IKEA removed incandescent lighting completely from their product offering.

Bulbs that are exempt from the act include specialty bulbs such as plant and 3-way bulbs, as well as any bulbs less than 40 watts or more than 150 watts. Additionally, patio light bulbs, decorative globe lights, and low watt standard household lights would be in the clear. Since Christmas lights fall well beneath the 40 watt range, consumers who are attached to their retro painted glass Christmas lights have no need to buy in bulk... at least not anytime soon.

Title IV of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires Federal buildings to use only Energy Star qualified lighting products by 2015. Energy Star products must meet strict standards in energy and cost savings, ensuring consumers get products that are durable enough and save energy at a rate fast enough to become a savings within a specific period of time.

Incandescent Phase Out: Administration Prohibited

In December 2011, the funding was revoked for the enforcement, and all incandescent bulbs and their sales were permitted to continue. This may only be a temporary reprieve, with the bill not amended, but rather administration prohibited from using funds to carry out the ban. Politics is being considered a factor in the Democratic bill and the prohibition of its enforcement, with some parties pushing hard on the belief that household lighting should be a personal choice and not government mandated. It would not be illegal to use incandescent bulbs, but the act would make it illegal to sell specific light bulbs.

Christmas Light Bulbs: Still Safe from Legislation
Many fear legislation will eventually effect Christmas lights, with a belief that once the incandescent bulb phase out begins, all household and decorative lighting will follow. While some homeowners and decorators have enthusiastically seized LED household and Christmas lights and the benefits they offer, others are very resistant to being forced to change their lighting.

If the prohibition on funding the phase out is lifted, how soon do you think it will be before Christmas light strings and bulbs are affected as well? Do you believe that household lighting should be influenced by the government?

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