Everything You Need to Know About the Incandescent Ban in 2023
It’s time to face the facts…
Incandescent lights are no longer a viable lighting technology.
And in case you are wondering:
Why is that??
Well, they’re not only inefficient, short-term, and inconvenient but also don’t produce the best quality of light.
And that’s why the debate about phasing out incandescent bulbs has been there for almost two decades.
In fact, there are countries that have already phased out the use of incandescent light…
While others have completely banned the sale and use of these lights.
The incandescent bad has had its own share of setbacks and opposition.
That’s because not everyone is as enthusiastic about switching to better lighting alternatives.
Mainly because of the costs involved in the process.
However, given the benefits that come with using alternatives such as LEDs, the whole idea of banning incandescent becomes worthwhile.
Are you for or against the incandescent light ban?
Well, before you answer that…
Here’s everything you need to know about the incandescent ban in 2019:
Chapter 1: What is the Incandescent Ban?
First things first…
What do you understand by the term incandescent ban?
Basically, it is the prohibition of the manufacture, distribution, sale, and use of incandescent light bulbs.
Incandescent light technology utilizes ultra-heated filaments to produce light.
The reason why there is a need for the ban of incandescent light technology is that it has more downsides than upsides.
These bulbs are often the cheapest lighting fixtures in the market.
However, they are also the most inefficient, least durable, and costly to use over a long period of time.
Not to mention, they aren’t eco-friendly.
Nowadays, LEDs are probably the best lighting alternatives to all other lighting technology.
And with the increase in LED light fixtures supply, the costs involved in upgrading have come down.
Hence, creating more reason for governments to push for the complete ban of incandescent light technology.
You may be wondering:
What are the Differences Between Incandescent Light Bulbs and LED Fixtures?
- LEDs use semiconductors that glow when exposed to voltage and that’s why they don’t heat up as compared to Incandescent bulbs that use filaments.
- LED fixtures are up to 80% more efficient than Incandescent lights. That means that you can cut down your lighting expenses by a very large margin.
- LED lights last longer. Typically, LED fixtures can last up to 70,000 hours; which is 70 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs.
- Also, LED fixtures allow for features like dimming and color manipulation; you won’t get these in an incandescent fixture.
- Incandescent bulbs are the cheapest in the lighting market. However, they don’t last long and are expensive to operate. LEDs are quite the opposite. They last longer cost very little to operate and maintain but are fairly expensive too.
LEDs are impressive, right?
That’s why they’ve become the #1 alternative lighting technology in countries that are still in the process of phasing out incandescent bulbs.
The Current Status of the Incandescent Ban
So far, quite a number of countries have adopted the phase-out of incandescent lighting.
Each country has been dealing with this process in its own unique way.
Generally, countries are discouraging incandescent lighting by:
- Banning the sale and use of these lights.
- Offering exchange programs of these lights with better alternatives.
- Phasing out the use of incandescent bulbs by cutting their development and manufacture.
The incandescent ban spans across all continents with South America, Europe, and Asia showing the highest adoption of this ban.
Brazil and Venezuela were the first countries to start phasing out incandescent lighting back in 2005.
Since then, quite a number of countries have joined in including China, the United States, Russia, Australia, Canada, European Union members, and a number of African countries.
And soon, more and more countries will adopt this movement because it’s not only highly beneficial to users but also a step towards the containment of global warming.
So, you may be wondering:
Who are the key players in this ban? Or better yet, how has it been progressing over the years?
If so, you’re in luck!
Here’s are a few updates on the regional developments of the incandescent ban across the world…
Read on to learn more…
Chapter 2: Incandescent Ban Regional Developments - European Union
The European Union consists of 28 European member states including Germany, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Denmark, and Sweden just to mention a few.
The UK was the first country in the EU to show interest in phasing out incandescent technology.
In 2007, they announced that they’d phaseout incandescent by 2011.
In 2008, Ireland followed suit by phasing out lighting fixtures that were rated below 16lm/W in luminous efficiency.
After a while, all EU countries agreed to phase out incandescent light technologies by 2012.
However, this move was more of a partial ban since it did not apply to all types of incandescent lighting. The agreement was to phase out non-directional, general-purpose incandescent bulbs.
That meant that reflective surface bulbs (like spotlights and halogen downlighters) and special-purpose bulbs (e.g. those used in household appliances, infrared lamps, traffic lights, and automotive lighting) we exempted.
As per the timeline of events…
Frosted incandescent bulbs were the first to go (by September 2009).
Thereafter, all incandescent bulbs above 100 Watt started getting replaced with better and more efficient alternatives.
By the end of 2012, the Wattage limit had been brought down and efficiency requirements raised.
That paved the way for the migration to more efficient lighting alternatives.
However, there were a few loopholes.
The “Rough-Service” or “Shock-Resistant” Bulb Loophole
In an effort to keep incandescent light technology alive, manufacturers and retailers used a few loopholes in the agreement.
Which loopholes and how?
Since special-purpose incandescent fixtures were exempted from the phase out, some manufacturers and retailers marketed their incandescent bulbs as “rough-service” or “shock-resistant” light fixtures meant for industrial use only.
These lights were cheaper than LEDs and CFLs; hence, they acted as an impediment to the incandescent ban.
However, these loopholes were sealed eventually.
Chapter 3: Incandescent Ban Regional Developments - United States
The U.S. wasn’t left behind either.
The incandescent ban/phase-out began as early as 2007; when the state of California passed legislation that sought to completely phase out incandescent bulbs by 2018.
Basically, this bill stipulated that the minimum allowed luminous efficiency of standard lighting fixtures would be 25lm/W by the end of 2013…
And at least 60lm/W by the end of 2018.
Similar legislation was proposed in Connecticut too.
As time went by, other states joined in the phase-out movement.
The states of Utah and New Jersey came up with laws that enforced the use of energy-efficient lighting fixtures in all government buildings.
Utah went on to undertake LED-based lighting projects in an effort to encourage and smoothen the transition to better and more efficient lighting technologies.
By the end of December 2007, the federal government had ratified the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 commonly known as EISA.
This Act introduced limits to the power consumption requirements of all general-service light bulbs yielding between 310 and 2600 lumens of light.
That meant that any fixture that fell outside that range was exempted from the said limits.
Other kinds of incandescent lights spared from these restrictions include:
- Plant lights.
- Stage lights.
- Rough service lights.
- 3-way lamps.
- Colored bulbs.
- Appliance lighting.
- Outdoor post lights (Under 100 watts).
- Shatter-resistant bulbs.
- Candelabra lights (Under 60 watts).
- And nightlights.
This Act’s main objective was to start phasing out most incandescent light bulbs by January 2012.
And in an effort to simplify the process of consumers finding an efficient lighting fixture, the United States Environmental Protection Agency‘s Energy Star program (March 2008) came up with rules that helped to classify lamps according to their:
- Overall energy-efficiency.
- Starting time.
- And performance consistency.
That way choosing the right fixtures from the myriad of choices becomes easy for consumers.
Sadly, the incandescent phase-out wasn’t as smooth.
There was a little bit of opposition…
Hindrances to the Incandescent Ban in the United States
In 2012, the phaseout process was slowed down when the U.S. Federal Budget delayed funding for the implementation of the first stage of the EISA 2007 law.
This was a major setback since it halted enforcement activities and made it difficult to smoothly run the phase-out.
These hindrances (in the form of denied funding) continued until around 2015.
And that’s not all…
In 2014, the DoE (Department of Energy) proposed an extension of the standards stipulated on the 2007 EISA law.
The proposed new law would affect a few special-purpose incandescent bulbs and would be put to effect starting January 2020.
Candelabra, globe, and Edison bulbs were among the special-purpose bulbs that would be affected by this extension.
Unfortunately, the new proposed law may not see the light of day owing to a change of mind by the Department of Energy.
Basically, the department filed a petition to withdraw their extension proposal in February 2019.
Hopefully, there will be some positive developments in the near future.
Chapter 4: Incandescent Ban Regional Developments - Australia
Australia is also a strong advocate for the incandescent ban.
It was among the first countries to begin the phase out of inefficient incandescent bulbs.
In Australia, the phase out process started as early as February 2007.
They enacted a law that stipulated lighting standards that would see the phase out of most incandescent lights by 2010.
These standards were quite simple.
As per the Australian Federal Government, the only incandescent lights that would be spared are the one that met the minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) the government had set.
The MEPS included a minimum standard efficiency level of 15lm/W.
By November 2008, Australia had completely banned the import of non-compliant lighting fixtures that mostly comprised of incandescent globes.
And a year later, in November 2009, the sale of non-compliant light fixtures was prohibited.
There was a proposal that would ensure that all light bulbs and fixtures sold from October 2009 were compliant with the new MEPS.
That meant that high-efficiency halogen bulbs would continue to be sold and used since they complied with MEPS.
However, the country plans to place a full ban on the sale, distribution and use of halogen light bulbs starting September, 2020.
Over the years, Australia has brought up initiatives to encourage its citizens to switch to better and more efficient lighting technologies like CFLs and LEDs.
As mentioned above other countries have been working towards phasing out incandescent light technology.
Looking at the regional developments in Asia…
At least 18 countries have embraced the incandescent ban in one way or another.
Take China, for example:
In October 2012, China banned the import and sale of specific incandescent light bulbs. This was a move to encourage people to switch to better lighting alternatives such as LEDs.
China set out a 5-year plan to completely phase out the use of incandescent lights of over 100 Watts.
In October 2014, the compliance limit was lowered to 60 Watts and higher.
And then 2 years later in October 2016, there was a full ban on all incandescent light bulbs.
Another great example is India:
India’s efforts to phase out incandescent light have been in the form of replacement initiatives.
Through the UJALA plan, the country plans to replace 770 million incandescent bulbs with LEDs before the end of 2019.
This move was expected to cut energy consumption in the country by over 100 Billion kWh each year.
To date, there is a complete ban on the use of incandescent light bulbs in all government departments, public sector projects, various boards, cooperatives, local bodies, and all institutions running on government aid in the states of TamilNadu, Kerala and Karnataka.
Other Asian countries that have completely banned incandescent light technology include Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Malaysia, North Korea, Qatar, Taiwan, Tajikistan, the UAE, and Uzbekistan.
Japan plans to phase out incandescent and fluorescent light technologies by 2020.
In Africa, the same seems to be trending, with at least 15 countries embracing the incandescent ban.
However, most African countries opted to phase out incandescent lights through exchange programs.
Therefore, most of them are still in the process of phasing out incandescent bulbs and switching to better lighting technologies like LEDs.
With all that said and done…
There is still one question people always ask:
What’s the difference between Incandescent bulbs, CFLs and LEDs?
If you’re one of them, the following chapter is for you…
Chapter 5: Incandescent Bulbs vs. CFLs vs. LEDs
Understanding the difference between these lighting technologies is the easiest way to see why the incandescent ban is necessary.
Before LEDs came into the picture, CFLs (or Compact Fluorescent Lights) were the best alternative to using incandescent lights.
And that’s why these three are so popular.
To better understand their differences, a few comparisons have to be made.
But first, here’s a quick overview of each of these technologies, their pros, and cons:
1. Incandescent Lights Overview
For most of the 20th Century, incandescent lights were the best and most popular lighting technology available.
They were simple, affordable, readily available, and very easy to use.
Sadly, there wasn’t much improvement in terms of efficiency, durability, and features with time.
And that’s why it grew less popular as more and more efficient lighting technologies kept popping up.
- Very affordable.
- Instant switching except for halogen bulbs.
- Easy to use
- Very inefficient.
- Short lifespans.
- Not eco-friendly.
- Limited features.
- Heating problems.
- High cost of operation.
2. Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) Overview
By the end of the 20th century, CFLs had gained popularity because they were the first, best alternative to incandescent lights at the time.
In fact, they were dubbed “Energy savers” on account of the fact that they used less energy to produce the same amount of lighting as an incandescent bulb.
The thing with CFLs is that they weren’t perfect.
Yes, they made up for most of the downsides of using incandescent lights.
That wasn’t enough!
And when LEDs came into the picture, things changed for the better.
- They are more than four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs. For example, one 100-Watt incandescent light is equal to at least four 25-Watt CFLs.
- CFLs were cheaper to use than incandescent lights despite their high initial cost.
- CFLs don’t have a carbon footprint therefore, they help to reduce carbon emissions.
- They are highly applicable and come in many different designs.
- CFLs last up to five times longer than incandescent bulbs.
- Switching them on/off reduces their lifespan. Not suitable for places where light is needed frequently but over short periods.
- Are not necessarily dimmable.
- They are not eco-friendly since they contain toxic substances like mercury that can be harmful to human health.
- They easily get damaged. The tubes are often too weak.
3. LED Lights Overview
LED lights happen to be the best lighting technology in existence today.
That’s because it makes up for almost all the shortcomings of all other technologies.
And that’s why a lot of governments have been encouraging their citizens to switch to LEDs in order to enjoy better and cheaper lighting.
The list of perks that comes with using LEDs is endless.
And despite the fact that LEDs are expensive, the convenience and benefits that come with them are always worth it.
- LED lights are over 80% more efficient than incandescent bulbs.
- With LEDs, you don’t have to worry about durability since they last up to 100 times longer than incandescent lights.
- LEDs can cut down lighting costs by up to 80%.
- Since they are “Solid State Lighting,” LEDs don’t easily break or get damaged.
- LEDs don’t heat up and are not affected by cold temperatures.
- Instant switching.
- They have excellent color rendering.
- Are dimmable.
- LEDs don’t contain toxic materials and are therefore eco-friendly.
- They are fairly expensive. But the price keeps going down as the supply increases.
- Blue hazard exposure risks.
From this, it’s obvious why LEDs are the best replacement for incandescent lighting.
But, to make it even easier, here’s a short table of comparison:
Up to 15lm/W
Up to 60lm/W
Up to 150lm/W
Many e.g. dimming
Chapter 6: 5 Irreplaceable Facts about the Incandescent Ban You Should Know.
You may also be asking:
What’s behind this ban?
Here are five good reasons behind the incandescent ban:
1. Environmental and Health Concerns
Incandescent lighting contributes a sizeable percentage of the world’s carbon emissions. That makes it bad for the environment.
Also, halogens and CFLs contain toxic chemicals like mercury that can be very harmful to human health and the environment.
That’s why LEDs are the best alternative available.
Despite the fact that incandescent light bulbs are the cheapest in the market, they are also the most expensive to maintain.
That’s mainly because of two things:
- a) They are not very energy-efficient and use up a lot of energy to produce light.
- b) They don’t last long and have to be replaced more often.
LEDs and CFLs make up for these two downsides.
3. Energy Star Qualification
Most incandescent bulbs have a very low energy star rating due to their inefficiency, cost and short lifespans.
That makes them inferior and unsuitable for green and energy-efficient lighting.
Also, the energy star rating is used to rate electronic products; showing which ones are good and which ones are bad.
The fact that most incandescent lights have a low rating is reason enough to phase them out, wouldn’t you agree?
4. Color Changing
In terms of color changing, CFLs and incandescent bulbs need filters in order to emit colored light. That limits the user to one king of color per bulb.
However, LEDs are designed to generate an entire spectrum of visible light colors.
When it comes to dimmability, different light technologies apply different techniques. However, some CFLs and all incandescent are not easily dimmable.
Halogens offer the best alternative to incandescent bulbs in terms of dimming. LEDs rely on drivers to offer dimmability features.
Basically, most LEDs are compatible with numerous dimming methods including 0~10V, TRIAC, and DALI.
Anyway, as we wrap up, it should now be vividly clear why the incandescent ban is necessary.
You should also note that more and more countries have begun phasing out incandescent light technology to pave way for better and more efficient technologies like LED.
Therefore, sooner or later, everyone will have to switch to LED lights.
And thanks to reputable companies like ShineLong, the supply and quality of LED fixtures will continue to rise; hence, reducing switching costs with time.
Do you have any questions about the incandescent ban or LED technology?
If so, feel free to ask us. We are experts when it comes to these subjects and would really like to hear your thoughts on the matter.
Therefore, contact us today to get even more insights on the topic.
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