The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EPACT) has been misunderstood and misreported. I’m guilty of misrepresenting it myself, calling it the “incandescent light bulb ban” among other things. Such a name is not completely accurate. While it is true that incandescent light bulbs are most heavily affected by the EPACT, the legislation actually just requires that light bulbs must become about 25% more efficient.
The law also only applies to general service light bulbs, i.e. the ones we use for regular use in our homes and elsewhere. It is true that certain incandescent light bulbs will be banned; however it is a select few. The light bulbs to be banned are the 100 watt, 75 watt, 60 watt, and 40 watt incandescents, which are the best example of inefficiency in lighting. Again, it is not a blanket ban on all incandescent light bulbs.
The law targeted lighting as an area where significant positive change could be realized due to lighting accounting for about 14% of electricity used in buildings in the US. Standard incandescent light bulbs are extremely inefficient, converting only about 10% of the energy they use into light. The other 90% of energy creates nothing but heat. The new law requires that the most common regular service light bulbs (the 100, 75, 60, and 40 watt) become about 25% more efficient.
It’s important to know the facts about the EPACT legislation, lest fear-mongering and other overreactions occur. The government is NOT banning all incandescent light bulbs. They are NOT mandating what types of light bulbs you must use, and consumers will NOT be required to change out all their lamps and fixtures. The EPACT simply requires that manufacturers improve the efficiency of their most common incandescent light bulbs. That doesn’t seem so bad to me.