The Department of Energy (DOE) recently adopted new regulations regarding the types of light bulbs that can be sold within the U.S. In accordance with these new rules, a number of older light bulb technologies will be phased out entirely in favor of more energy-efficient options. This article will help walk you through these new rules, explain what types of light bulbs are affected and how this will impact your organization moving forward.
These new regulations revise the definition of what qualifies as a GSL (General Service Lamp) and prohibit the sale of bulbs which do not meet the new minimum standard of 45 lumens per watt. The laws are intended to help businesses and consumers save on their utility bills by using more energy-efficient light bulbs. This law resembles similar regulations currently found in a number of states, including California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Washington, and Vermont.
As of July 25, 2022, retailers will be prohibited from selling light bulbs that do not comply with the new DOE standards. The type of light bulbs impacted by this legislation includes select incandescent, halogen and CFL bulbs, which will no longer be available for purchase.
One very important thing to keep in mind is that these new regulations target manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, not users. If you have a large backstock of old light bulbs you need to use up, you won’t be penalized for doing so. It does mean, however, that once you go through your existing inventory, you might not be able to find the same type of bulb in stores or online and may have to switch to something else.
LED bulbs have a higher upfront cost than less efficient options. Compared to inefficient bulbs, the general upfront cost of switching to LEDs involves a cost increase of around 30-40%. These numbers are deceptive, however, since LED bulbs typically end up saving you money over time. For starters, LED bulbs have a much longer lifespan than other bulbs – roughly 15-20 years – which means you’ll be replacing them far less often. Here’s a comparison of the lifespan of LED bulbs versus other bulb types:
Not only do LED bulbs last much longer than other bulb types, they’re also far more efficient. A typical LED bulb consumes roughly 80-85% less energy than an incandescent bulb. This translates to significant savings on your energy costs. For an Energy Star certified LED bulb, you can expect to save up to $55 in energy costs over the course of its life, and that’s just for one light bulb.
A lighting retrofit involves swapping out older luminaires with a newer lighting apparatus that’s compatible with LED lighting. So, does this ruling mean that your business will have to undergo a lighting retrofit? Probably not. Retrofits will only be required for things like fluorescent tubing. Any bulbs that fit into a traditional lighting socket will not require a full retrofit.
While this is completely up to you, there is a compelling reason to consider changing all of your bulbs at one time. Color temperature varies between LEDs and other types of bulbs. Because of this, mixing different types of bulbs can create a disorienting effect. For something like a desk lamp, this effect is minimal, however, when lighting spaces within a facility, it’s wise to stick with a single type of bulb from the same manufacturer, as this will create a more consistent quality of light.
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