When it comes to lighting, it's time to look underneath the shade. New lighting efficiency standards begin in 2012 and affect most of the incandescent bulbs currently on the market.
Are CFL Bulbs Safe?
Because CFL bulbs contain approximately 4 mg of mercury, some people may be concerned about them. However, the light bulbs have significantly less mercury than an old-fashioned thermometer or even a bite of albacore tuna! And while the CFLs aren't known to create health risks, there are guidelines on safe cleanup of the bulbs at www.epa.gov/cfl.
Don't be confused by changes in bulb standards; we'll guide you through the updates so you can continue keeping your home bright and beautiful.
- by Jennifer Sellers
Light bulbs have been going through quite a transformation over the past few years. The standard incandescent bulbs we're all familiar with are slowly being replaced by their more energy-efficient counterparts, the corkscrew-shaped CFL light bulbs. But the traditional bulbs aren't going away into the dark night; they'll continue to illuminate—just in a more energy-friendly manner.
Most of the incandescent bulbs currently on the market don't meet new efficiency standards. Therefore, over the next two years they'll undergo a makeover. The end result will be halogen bulbs, a type of light bulb that uses less wattage to light a room. Here are the current deadlines for manufacturers to have updated bulbs ready for the market:
- 100-watt bulbs: Jan. 1, 2012
- 75-watt bulbs: Jan. 1, 2013
- 40- and 60-watt bulbs: Jan. 1, 2014
These light bulbs will still have a screw base and still be considered incandescent; they'll just operate more efficiently than older models.
Compare and Contrast
You can also expect to see new labeling on light bulb packages in the coming years. These changes are expected to provide valuable comparison tools on features such as brightness, yearly cost, life expectancy, light appearance (such as cool or warm) and energy use.
What These Changes Mean to You
While these light bulb changes may seem major, the transformation will have a very minor impact on the way you light your home. In fact, it's likely to benefit you by helping you save on your energy bills.