Green Living: Yes, You Can Keep Your Incandescents

Let’s clear up a few things. No one is coming to your house to confiscate your incandescent bulbs and force you you install twisty compact fluorescent bulbs.

There is no need to stockpile or horde them like tulip bulbs or canned milk.*

Even though CFLs are vastly more energy-efficient, last 10 times as long, cost less to operate and provide just as nice light.

We know, you think the light is weird or you have concerns (legitimately!) about the potential health risks if you break one. (For the record, here’s how to clean up a broken CFL and why and how to recycle  CFLs responsibly and safely.)

And maybe you just don’t like being told what you can and can’t buy for your home.

For now, at least until 2014, you can have your incandescent bulbs.


A Congressional spending deal made late last night includes a provision that prevents the Department of Energy from enforcing the incandescent light bulb ban set to go in effect in January for another nine months.

The first phase of the ban, which still remains on the books but just can’t be enforced, includes higher efficiency standards for 100-watt bulbs.  By the end 2014, all incandescents will be phased out.  and this delay may now cause them to lose money to foreign competitors still selling the cheaper bulbs.

In the meantime, American light bulb makers are hot on the task of making the change from incandescents to more efficient bulbs like halogen, CFLs and LEDs that customers will love.

New out of the gate are Philips’ energy efficient EcoVantage incandescent bulbs, available exclusively at Home Depot stores and online via


Philips Lighting is launching a new line of incandescent light bulbs designed to meet federal energy efficiency standards that will take force in the US over the next few years.

While not as efficient as compact fluorescent or LED bulbs,  EcoVantage bulbs will likely appeal to people who are unhappy with the quality of light delivered by the more energy efficient technologies.

The new bulbs, which use halogen elements, provide energy savings of about 28% compared to conventional incandescents. That meets or exceeds efficiency standards established in the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. Wattage options are as follows:

According to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), lighting alone accounts for 22% of electricity use in the US, and there are over 4.4 billion medium screw-based light sockets.

Yes, you can keep your incandescents. But I hope you’ll consider upgrading to more efficient lights–with plenty of choice for which and how much–when you can.

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