Standard Incandescent Bulbs Now Banned For 3-Way Lamps and Globe-Shaped Bulbs

On the last day of President Barack Obama’s U.S. presidency (January 19th 2017), the Energy Department under his administration outlawed additional types of standard incandescent bulbs. The law signed by Congress in 2007 banning most of your standard incandescent bulbs from production had a few exceptions: 3-way light bulbs, rough surface light bulbs, bug light bulbs, and decorative, globe-shaped light bulbs, to name a few. But before Obama left office, the Energy Department included some of these types of standard incandescent bulbs in the ban, which goes into effect in three years.


Note: The term “standard” in standard incandescent light bulbs refer to the tungsten-filament incandescents, or so-called “inefficient incandescents”. There are manufacturers still producing incandescent bulbs that meet the energy efficiency requirements under the mandate. 


Note: U.S. production will stop for 3-way and globe-shaped standard incandescent bulbs within the next three years, but they may still be on shelves in stores. Until inventory is depleted, consumers will still be able to buy these bulbs.


The U.S. Phaseout of Standard Incandescent Bulbs

Effective January 1, 2014, it became mandatory for U.S. manufacturers to cease production of 40 and 60 watt standard incandescent bulbs. This concluded the last part of the phaseout plan, with 100 watt and 75 watt standard incandescent light bulbs ceased in 2012 and 2013. 


The incandescent phaseout became enacted to accomplish a higher energy efficiency standard, with LED technology trumping incandescent and CFL performance. LED light bulbs use about 80% less energy than incandescents because they produce little to no heat (which in turn, saves you a lot of money annually on your electric bill). LEDs last up to 4 times longer than CFL bulbs, and 25 times longer than your standard incandescent bulbs. They are also very durable. CFL and better incandescents like Halogen bulbs are still an option for consumers, but LEDs definitely take the win.  


3-Way Light Bulbs

3-way light bulbs are used in lamps that output three different light levels. You may have a lamp that has three different settings on one switch that produces three different levels of light (typically 30/70/100 watts or 50/100/150 watts). For example, the lowest wattage on the 3-way bulb isn’t as bright as the other two levels.


Globe-Shaped Light Bulbs

To maintain energy efficiency, the ban also includes incandescent globe-shaped bulbs we see in some decorative lighting and bathroom lighting.


The Impact of the Expansion on the Mandate

There will always be controversy with how the government controls consumer spending. But the mandates that the Congress has made thus far with how we purchase lighting for our homes will definitely make a positive impact on our environment. When looking at an alternative like LED bulbs, there is really no argument. LEDs contain no toxic elements. LEDs have a longer lifespan, reducing carbon emissions. LEDs use less energy, reducing the demand of power plants and greenhouse gas emissions. LEDs are safer to dispose of because they are fully recyclable and contain no mercury or glass.