IKEA  has pulled the plug on the sales of incandescent light bulbs, the retailer announced last week. Effective Jan. 4, 2011, IKEA US will no longer stock or sell incandescent bulbs, becoming the first retailer to do so ahead of new energy efficiency regulations set to take effect in 2012.
The new regulations , part of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, will effectively phase out less efficient bulbs, starting with the standard 100W bulb in 2012, followed by 75W bulbs in 2013 and 60W and 40W bulbs in 2014. These national regulations are also being put into effect a year earlier in California , where standard 100W incandescent bulbs manufactured after Jan. 1 of this year cannot be sold.
“As the largest home furnishings store, we are constantly looking at ways to help support our customers with everyday environmentally responsible solutions that will improve their lives,” Mike Ward, US IKEA President, said in a statement. “Eliminating incandescents is just one simple way for IKEA customers to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gases.”
Terry McGowan, Director of Engineering for the American Lighting Assn. , says it’s not surprising that IKEA was the first retailer to take this step, since it was also the first to offer CFL recycling.
IKEA’s decision will also help increase consumer awareness of the phase-out, McGowan says. According to a survey done last month by IKEA and Harris Interactive, more than 60 percent of Americans are not aware of the new energy efficiency requirements.
“What IKEA has also done is opened the door to educating the consumer in a very substantial way,” McGowan says. “By having a customer come in for replacement bulbs and ask where they are and why they’re not there anymore, there’s a built-in education opportunity.”
McGowan also says 2011 will be an important transitional year for incandescent products, as it will be interesting to see how consumers react, and whether they choose halogen, CFL or LED bulbs.
“The one thing that’s different about the new sources is sticker shock. Consumers will go from a 60 cent light bulb to a two or three dollar light bulb,” McGowan says. “If the price is the same, will the consumer reach for halogen, which is incandescent in any respect, or CFL? Any retailer that’s interested in the future of lighting should be interested in this decision.”