It used to be that the cartoon indicator for a good idea was an incandescent bulb over somebody’s head. Not anymore. Incandescents are outdated, wasteful, and about to go the way of the buffalo. In January 2014, new lighting efficiency standards are going to force 40- and 60-watt incandescent-type lights to get about 25 % more efficient. Under the Energy Efficiency and Security Act of 2007, signed into law by then President Bush, light bulbs must become more efficient in terms of energy used for lumen generated. The typical 60-watt bulb can use no more than 43 watts and the 40-watt bulb must drop to 29 watts. The 75- and 100-watt incandescent bulbs have already met their fate. But the impact of standards on 40- and 60-watt bulbs is more important, as they represent about 80% of all incandescent bulbs. This means we will be buying a lot more efficient luminaires in the near future. Many of us will buy the efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) curly cue bulbs, but smart consumers will take a long hard look at LEDs, which are becoming more affordable.

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