Incandescent light bulbs disappearing from stores
Mar 05, 2011 (Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The day is coming when the standard 100-watt bulb will be just a dim memory.
It's closer than you think.
Home improvement centers across California adopted a multiyear phase out of incandescent light bulbs in January -- a year earlier than 2007's Energy Independence and Security Act. That Bush-era law requires new bulbs to use 25 to 30 percent less energy, beginning next year with the 100 watt and ending in 2014 with the 40 watt.
So what does that mean for your burned-out reading lamp?
"You will have options that are like the incandescent in terms of look and feel," says Jorge Fernandez, Home Depot's senior merchant for LED product development. "And they will pay for themselves over time."
spiral compact fluorescents (CFLs), light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and the new halogens.
These energy-efficient replacements to the century-old incandescent (patented by Thomas Edison) are steadily taking over the light bulb aisles.
Granted, they're more expensive to buy and sometimes require special discarding than standard bulbs, which are still available as long as inventories last. CFL bulbs contain a small amount of mercury and should be recycled for reuse, which you can do at stores like Home Depot, Lowe's and Orchard Supply Hardware.
Still, it's got its selling points.
CFLs, LEDs and halogens are long lasting. They use less energy to produce the same amount of light as the standard electric bulb, saving people money on utilities, says Mike Brown, a buyer for Orchard Supply Hardware.
"It's kind of like putting money into a CD," he says. "It's takes money up front but you do get more in the end."
The most energy efficient of the bunch is the LED bulb, which has come a long way from its days as those red lights on your clock radio.
GE recently unveiled the Energy Star-rated GE Energy Smart 9-watt LED bulb, featuring a unique omnidirectional light output, which means the light shines in all directions. Available at Lowe's for under $35, it replaces the 40-watt incandescent bulb in a desk, bedside or hallway and can last for more than 20 years.
The new Philips 12-watt Ambient LED Soft White light bulb lasts just as long. This fully dimmable bulb replaces the 60-watt incandescent bulb in a table lamp or ceiling fixture. And Home Depot sells it for under $40.
In addition to the dimmer light, the home improvement giant is championing several LED replacements for 35- to 75-watt ceiling floodlights under its EcoSmart brand. The bulbs are available only online for now.
"LEDs are everywhere," Fernandez says. "They're on Christmas lights to flashlights to car headlights to light bulbs, and the reason they're there is because they last even longer than compact fluorescents."
When it comes to the 100-watt incandescent, however, LEDs can't produce the kind of comparble light as a CFL or energy-efficient.
Not yet anyway.
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