The second phase of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), which Congress passed to encourage the use of more efficient bulbs nationwide, will be effective on Jan. 1, 2013.
Starting that day, 75W incandescent A lamps imported or manufactured in the U.S. will be phased out and replaced with equivalent bulbs that produce only 53W. The lumen output will remain similar, but less energy will be required.
EISA is being adopted over a three-year span and began Jan. 1, 2012 with 100W incandescent A lamps. 60W and 40W incandescents will be phased out in 2014. Since the standards are technology neutral, any type of bulb can still be sold as long as it meets the efficiency requirements. The second part of the law, which won't be effective until 2020, requires that most light bulbs be 60 to 70 percent more efficient than traditional incandescents.
Although manufacturers have been preparing for these phase-outs for some time, and many CFLs and LEDs can already meet the requirements, American Lighting Assn. Director of Engineering and Technology Terry McGowan says the newly introduced standards are still a big deal, mainly because of consumers.
“As this law has kicked in, while there have been complaints and discussion, consumers now have more options than ever before. We’re seeing less frustration and more confusion on the consumers' part because of the increased availability.”
But in this vein, the most vital phase is yet to come according to McGowan. He predicts that 2014’s 60W phase-out will be more important than previous years because 60W bulbs have the biggest market share.
There are several resources available to aid consumers in this continuing transition: The Federal Trade Commission mandated new package labels in 2011 that translate wattage to lumens and include a brightness scale; Bulbrite’s Lightopedia.com summarizes the Energy Bill and what it means, and also provides resources for lighting professionals; and iPad and smartphone apps, like LightSmart from Underwriters Laboratories, help a consumer see the difference between different bulbs and outputs.
McGowan says that the National Lighting Bureau will publish a press release in the coming weeks with a comprehensive list of resources for consumer education as well.