Banning of incandescent lightbulbs

Due to the higher energy usage of incandescent light bulbs in comparison to more energy efficient alternatives, such as compact fluorescent lamps and LED lamps, some governments have passed laws and regulations that have started to phase out their usage.

Regional developments



Cuba exchanged all incandescent light bulbs to CFLs in 2007 and banned import and sales of incandescent light bulbs.

South America

Brazil and Venezuela were the first countries to attempt to phase out the use of incandescent light bulbs, in 2005.

United States

California will phase out the use of incandescent bulbs by 2018 as part of bill by California State Assembly member Jared Huffman (D-Santa Rosa) that was signed by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on October 12, 2007. The bill also requires a reduction in lighting electricity usage.

Legislation has also been proposed in Connecticut by state Representative Mary M. Mushinsky (D-Wallingford).. On February 8 2007, New Jersey Assemblyman Larry Chatzidakis introduced a bill that calls for the state to switch to fluorescent lighting in government buildings over the next three years. "The light bulb was invented a long time ago and a lot of things have changed since then," said Chatzidakis. "I obviously respect the memory of Thomas Edison, but what we're looking at here is using less energy.

Many of these state efforts became moot when the federal Clean Energy Act of 2007 was signed into law on December 19, 2007. This legislation effectively banned (by January 2014) incandescent bulbs that produce 310 - 2600 lumens of light. Bulbs outside this range (roughly, light bulbs currently less than 40 Watts or more than 150 Watts) are exempt from the ban. Also exempt are several classes of specialty lights, including appliance lamps, "rough service" bulbs, 3-way, colored lamps, and plant lights.


In Canada, electrical regulations already require the use of LED lamps in electrically-illuminated emergency exit signs. Since these are continually illuminated and there may be many signs in a building, the cumulative energy saving is significant. In traffic-signal applications, LEDs replace incandescent lamps. LED lamps can inherently produce lighting of the saturated colors required for signals, eliminating the energy wasted by filtering the white light of an incandescent lamp.

In April 2007, Ontario's Minister of Energy Dwight Duncan announced the provincial government's intention to ban incandescent light bulbs by 2012. The plan would ban the sale of incandescent light bulbs, but not their use.

The provincial government of Nova Scotia would also like to move towards phasing out incandescent light bulbs in the province. However, Energy Minister Bill Dooks said he expects it would be four or five years before a ban is in place.

Federal Environment Minister John Baird has announced a plan to phase-out inefficient light bulbs in Canada by 2012, this will not mean the banning of any existing technology such as incandescent light bulbs. According to the minister Canada will save $3- to $4-billion Canadian dollars over the lifetime of the new bulbs.



President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo called for a ban of incandescent light bulbs by 2010 in favor of more energy-efficient fluorescent globes to help cut greenhouse gas emissions and household costs during her closing remarks at the Philippine Energy Summit. Once put in effect, the country will be the first in Asia to ban incandescent bulbs.


The European Union has proposed a ban on incandescent light bulbs, planned to come into effect in the near future, but this will not affect existing incandescent bulbs, only the production of new bulbs. However, the proposal has yet to be approved by all member states or the European Parliament.

Italy will ban the sale of incandescent light bulbs as of 2010. On 10 December 2007 the Budget Committee of the Chamber of Deputies has voted in favour of a proposal by the leader of the Greens, Angelo Bonelli MP.

Germany’s Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel has urged the European Commission to ban inefficient light bulbs in the EU in the fight against global warming. The EU could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 25 million tonnes a year if energy saving light bulbs were used in both the domestic and services sectors.

Belgium's Minister of the Environment Bruno Tobback is intent on banning incandescent light bulbs, and thinks the ban on incandescent light bulbs should be included in the list of measures under the Kyoto Protocol. Energy Minister Kris Peeters supports this position as well.

The Netherlands is moving ahead with plans to ban incandescent light bulbs as well. The Dutch minister Environment Jacqueline Cramer wants a ban on incandescent light bulbs within 4 years.

In Ireland the government proposes to ban traditional incandescent light bulbs in January 2009.

On September 27 2007, the government in the United Kingdom announced plans to phase out the sale of incandescent light bulbs by 2011. Under the plan, retailers will voluntarily decline to stock 150 watt bulbs from January 2008, 100 watt bulbs from January 2009, 40 watt bulbs in 2010, and all remaining bulbs by 2011. These plans are voluntary, however they have had wide support from retailers and consumers. The initiative has, however, been criticised by environmental groups such as Greenpeace, and other political parties, who believe mandatory measures should be introduced.



On February 20, 2007, the Australian Federal Government announced the introduction of minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for lighting products. The new minimum standard efficiency level is 15 lumens per watt (lm/w) Subsequently the timetable was amended on 5 June 2008 so that the 4 year phase out period was accelerated by 12 months. From Nov 2008, the importation of non compliant lighting (including incandescent globes) into Australia will be banned and from Nov 2009 the retail sale of non compliant lighting (including incandescent globes) will be banned.. It is estimated that greenhouse gas emissions will be cut by 800,000 tonnes (Australia's current emission total is 564.7 million tonnes), a saving of approximately 0.14%

According to the current proposal still subject to consultation, all regular lightbulbs and some other kinds of lightbulbs sold from October 2009 will have to meet new minimum energy performance standards. This will effectively prohibit the sale of most incandescent lightbulbs available prior to that date. High efficiency halogen bulbs will still be available provided they meet the new minimum energy performance standards.

There have been some initiatives to encourage people to switch to compact fluorescent lamps. For example, residents in some municipalities have been offered free compact fluorescent lamps to replace their incandescent lightbulbs, including free installation. Residents have to sign over the carbon credits resulting from the reduced carbon emissions over the expected life of the compact fluorescent lamps to the installation company.

New Zealand

In response, New Zealand is considering similar measures. Climate Change Minister David Parker said: "The Australians are talking about looking at banning ordinary lightbulbs in three years' time...I think by the time that is implemented in Australia - if it is - we will be doing something very similar".


The cost of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) is considerably higher than incandescent light bulbs, and there are some applications where the extra cost of a CFL will never be repaid, typically where bulbs are used relatively infrequently such as in little-used closets and attics.

There has been some consumer concern that CFLs may not fit existing light sockets or lampshades. However, manufacturers state that CFLs are substantially shorter and smaller than they were just a few years ago. While some CFLs had difficulty fitting certain lampshades in the past, they will usually fit in table lamps today.

There has also been concern that CFLs cause interference in TV pictures and AM radio. This used to be true: some CFLs created radio frequency interference, but this is rare today. In the U.S., manufacturers state that the problem can be avoided by choosing CFLs with the government's Energy Star rating, indicating that they meet a standard set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC also requires CFL manufacturers to supply information (on or inside the package) that informs consumers what to do in the event of any interference (e.g., move the CFL and AM radio away from each other).

Using CFLs in a home will not affect power quality appreciably, but their use in large-scale installations can have an impact.

There are also concerns about possible environmental and health hazards due to mercury content.

See also


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