Black Market for Incandescent Bulbs?

13 Jan 2011

IKEA recently announced that it is no longer selling or stocking incandescent light bulbs in its U.S. stores, instead only offering compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), LEDs and halogen and solar powered lamps.  IKEA’s action comes ahead of federal legislation banning the sales of different wattages of incandescent bulbs from 2012 to 2014.  Under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, 100-watt incandescent bulbs will be banned starting January 1, 2012, followed by 75-watt bulbs in 2013, then 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs in 2014.

In removing incandescent bulbs from stores, IKEA also commissioned a survey which found that 61 percent of people surveyed were unaware of the federal legislation.  That finding is similar to that by Osram Sylvania’s latest Socket Survey, in which 64 percent of people were not aware of the upcoming ban.

Energy will certainly be saved, but it will be interesting to see whether there is rampant dissatisfaction with lighting as a result.  Good lighting is crucial for certain tasks and CFLs and LEDs are not an equivalent to an incandescent in all applications.  CFLs, for example, likely don’t work with the current dimmer in your house, take some time to obtain full brightness, and are not good for focused lighting (and contain mercury).  LEDs, on the other hand, are presently very expense, often cannot be used in existing lamp sockets, and tend to give off light in a specific direction – providing less ambient light from a single bulb.  It should be amusing to watch people at Home Depot fill up their carts with cases of 100-watt bulbs come later this Fall.

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