It's January 1st and you know what that means:
You may recall that common 40 to 100 watt incandescent light bulbs were phased out of use from 2012 to 2014 as new energy efficiency standards went into place.
To be clear, this isn’t because the light bulbs were explicitly banned, but they couldn’t produce enough lumens (light output) per watt of energy used to meet the new standards, so they could no longer be produced in the US or imported. Anyone with stock of these bulbs could continue to sell them and people could continue to use them, but this would lead to a general phasing out of those light bulbs.
On January 1, 2020, the next level of lighting efficiency standards will hit, effectively eliminating both incandescent and halogen bulbs (a form of incandescent) in the same way. But this will impact more than just the standard light bulb shape. It will impact almost every type of general use light bulb, including reflector bulbs, MR16 bulbs, decorative / chandelier bulbs, and globe shaped bulbs.
It will also impact several specialty lamps that were previously excluded from the law. These include rough service bulbs, vibration-service bulbs, shatter resistant bulbs, and three-way bulbs. Click here if you want all the details in lengthy legalese.
But efficiency has arrived early in California – these federal mandates could optionally be implemented up to two years early for those states that wanted them. So as of today, January 1, 2018, California has these standards in place.
As before, you won’t be locked out from buying lower efficiency bulbs while they’re still on store shelves or online in stores like Lighting Supply. But eventually they will become harder and harder to find, leaving you to choose alternatives. And with manufacturers like GE no longer making CFL bulbs, this really leaves the option of LED bulbs for the time being.
But technology marches on, and perhaps there will be new options like OLED lighting available (and affordable) within a few years.