Department of Energy Begins Enforcing Light Bulb Ban

Department of Energy Begins Enforcing Light Bulb Ban

( – The United States, as of August 2023, will no longer allow the manufacture or sale of incandescent and halogen light bulbs. The ban covers any light bulb that produces less than 45 lumens per watt. This effectively bans incandescent and halogen bulbs but allows for LED and (for now) compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). The Department of Energy (DOE) issued the ban over a year ago but will now begin enforcing the consequences for anyone caught manufacturing or selling the banned bulbs.

The energy consumption of light bulbs is not a new issue. The George W. Bush administration began looking into light bulb efficiency to curb climate change. When Donald Trump was in office, he blocked the plan to phase out the less efficient light bulbs, joking that the higher efficiency bulbs made him “look orange.”

President Joe Biden decided to continue with the plan to ban the less efficient bulbs. The move has caused many to wonder if the ban is more politically founded than for saving energy, especially as it comes on the heels of similar bans on water heaters and gas stoves.

The DOE claims that using solely LED or CFL bulbs will save over $3 billion on energy costs and decrease the nation’s carbon footprint. One problem with this change is that LED and CFL bulbs cost more than the now-banned options. Research shows that lower-income households typically purchase the less efficient bulbs due to their lower cost.

It’s possible this ban could make it more difficult for lower-income households to purchase light bulbs once their incandescent bulbs burn out. Regardless of cost, the ban is in effect, and companies can face “severe federal penalties” for disregarding the law. This could eventually include the prohibition of CFL bulbs as well. The DOE, in December of 2022, proposed banning any bulb that does not produce 120 lumens per watt, which would include CFL bulbs.

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