Say Goodbye to Incandescent Light Bulbs


Boxes of incandescent light bulbs piled on top of each other.

The Biden Administration revealed new rules for light bulbs.
Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that the incandescent light bulb is officially dead, and producers and sellers must begin phasing them out before a widespread ban in July 2023.

The new standards say a lightbulb can only have a minimum energy efficiency of 45 lumens per watt. For reference, an average incandescent bulb has an efficiency of 15 lumens per watt while a halogen bulb has an efficiency of 25 lumens per watt. Light bulbs that do not meet this standard have 75 days to be phased out of production as part of the “enforcement leniency period,” as described in the Department of Energy’s Enforcement Policy Statement before widespread enforcement begins in July of next year. The Policy, which was released today, reads:

DOE intends to pursue violations by distributors and retailers using the same enforcement transition stages along with its discretion. However, the timeline for these entities is more gradual to allow first for the transition of existing inventory, while manufacturers, including importers, transition their production and shipments in 2022

This new ban will encourage consumers to rely on LED bulbs as opposed to incandescent, and comes as a part of President Biden’s efforts to curb the climate crisis. These rules aim to cut carbon emissions by 222 million electric tons. The Department of Energy estimates that the average family will save $100 per year, for a total of $3 billion.

“By raising energy efficiency standards for lightbulbs, we’re putting $3 billion back in the pockets of American consumers every year and substantially reducing domestic carbon emissions,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.

The ruling also reverse a Trump Administration hiccup in a decades long attempt to phase out incandescent light bulbs. In December 2019, Axios reported that Trump blocked Bush-era legislation that would have encouraged U.S. consumers to purchase LED light bulbs. That move would have gone into effect in 2020.


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