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CA Incandescent Ban, Green Building Codes Go Into Effect

California put changing the light bulb on a fast track, implementing a law one year ahead of a federal standard, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, to ban the traditional 100-watt incandescent light bulb. The law goes into effect in all states starting in 2012.

By implementing the law one year earlier, the state says consumers will save $35.6 million in electricity and 10.5 million incandescent bulbs will not be sold.

California wanted to speed up the process in order to get on track with its other environmental goals, according to the CEC. The new year brings on the enforcement of CAL Green building codes that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 equivalent) by 3 million metric tons equivalent by 2020.

Also in step with the upcoming change, retailer IKEA has stopped selling and stocking incandescent bulbs, the first retailer to halt the sale of all such lights, according to a news release.

This is well ahead of regulation, which does not impact the existing supply of incandescent light bulbs currently stocked in retail stores or incandescent light bulbs already in use. Also the phase-out does not yet affect lower wattage incandescent bulbs; similar efficiency standards will be applied to 75-, 60- and 40-watt bulbs over the next two years, according to the energy commission’s website.

IKEA reported results of a consumer survey conducted in December 2010, which found that 59 percent of Americans have already changed to energy-saving lights. Seventy-nine percent know that the bulbs will save money, although 61% are not aware of the legislation.

The IKEA survey found that 62% are not concerned about the disposal of old bulbs.

Available replacement bulbs are compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL), many of which contain mercury, or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs that can cost as much as $20 each.

17 thoughts on “CA Incandescent Ban, Green Building Codes Go Into Effect

  1. IKEA primarily sells lamp lighting, but if their ovens need other lighting options they came up with it. If a bulb isn’t 100W it doesn’t matter at this point.

    I am watching this as well. Chicken coops need an incandescent bulb to keep chickens warm in prolonged extra cold temperatures, and 30W is as high as you can go without cooking them. Once this is proposed to expand to more wattages I suspect there will be more public input.

  2. A very valid concern is that fluorescent bulbs in many places are sources of considerable amount of dangerous to health (skin and vision) UV radiation. Health is priority. There are still plenty of ways of saving on electricity to be considered and developed.

    Thank you for your attention,

    José Rabello

  3. Since the concern was raised, I looked up health risks with fluorescents and UV rays. The health risk is miniscule at worst. As I understand it, the standard is for effeciency, which may permitmore effecient incnadescents to be used in exceptional applications described.

  4. Newer CFLs have much better lighting quality than the earlier ones, and they’re far more efficient and durable than the 100-year old disposable bulbs many homes are still using. An incandescent bulb is 10% light and 90% heat – unsafe and inefficient.

    The health risks associated with coal pollution – still 50% of our power in the US – are much worse than the supposed ill effects of CFL lighting, so energy efficiency is a primary method for reducing the real health and safety issues caused by fossil fuel production, and pollution.

    For people concerned about mercury – more mercury is released into the atmosphere by the coal plant that is powering your lightbulb than would be released even if you threw your CFL into a landfill.

  5. cody bailey…..the previous decade was the hottest decade on record. 4 out of the last five decades were each hotter than the preceeding one. The truth is that we are in a warming phase. This is backed up by NOAA data.

    Sorry for the reality check on your delusions.

  6. Has anyone done a study to compare the energy required to produce fluorescent bulbs vs. incandescent? Just by holding the bulb, you can tell there is a lot more “substance” to it, so therefore more material production required. I also think the health hazards from the mercury pollution that will inevitably happen (how many people are going to just toss their old bulbs in the trash?) far outweigh any benefits from electricity. This is just an example of more “unintended consequences” that the morons aren’t thinking about.

  7. It would be fair and reasonable to bring in doctors (dermatologists, oftalmologists, others) to the debate of rulemaking.

  8. The EPA estimates the U.S. is responsible for the release of 104 metric tons of mercury emissions each year. Most of these emissions come from coal-fired electrical power. Mercury released into the air is the main way that mercury gets into water and bio-accumulates in fish. (Eating fish contaminated with mercury is the main way for humans to be exposed.) Most mercury vapor inside CFLs becomes bound to the inside of the light bulb as it is used. EPA estimates that the rest of the mercury within a CFL – about 11 percent – is released into air or water when it is sent to a landfill, assuming the light bulb is broken. Therefore, if all 290 million CFLs sold in 2007 were sent to a landfill (versus recycled, as a worst case) – they would add 0.13 metric tons, or 0.1 percent, to U.S. mercury emissions caused by humans.

    In addition, a study by the Australian CSIRO found that CFLs recoup the energy used to manufacture them in a matter of months. That is, they save more energy in a year than was used in their manufacture. For all the remaining years of their useful lives, the energy they continue to save adds up to a real environmental benefit. And since they last so much longer than a standard incandescent, fewer bulbs need to be manufactured to keep up with demand.

    Because CFLs help to reduce greenhouse gases, other pollutants associated with electricity production, and landfill waste (because the bulbs last longer), they are clearly the environmental winner when compared to traditional incandescent light bulbs.

  9. Furthermore, the mercury emissions that are avoided during the useful life of a CFL far outweigh the residual mercury release that would occur if the CFL was tossed in the trash instead of recycled. That same EPA study showed that, over a typical 8,000 hour lifetime of a CFL, a 13 watt CFL would release a total of 1.6 milligrams of mercury (both from the electricity used and from the landfill release). That should be compared to the 5.8 milligrams of mercury released by the long series of 60 watt incandescents that would be required to provide 8,000 hours of light (all of it from the electricity used).

    And that example doesn’t even take into account the additional energy used in the manufacture of all those incandescents.

  10. Nice post, California has become the leading state in terms of Green building construction, and sustainable practices. The state has set some lofty goals for itself, but I am confident that California will be able to achieve what they set out to do. Many cities in California have been following these optional regulations for a few years now, so making them mandatory shouldn’t change much for places like San Jose, San Francisco and Los Angeles. IKEA is raising the bar as well in terms of lowering their carbon footprint. Hopefully California and IKEA will start paving the way to a greener planet. I enjoy reading about topics like this and how they are changing the world; I typically use McGraw Hill’s California Construction site to find out information on these issues. While I do some occasional work for McGraw Hill, I have used their construction website long before we started working together. If you are interested in learning more about California’s construction news, check out their website.

  11. While studies of lighting with office workers has had mixed results, a study performed in a school showed improvements in standardized test of 16-26% in classrooms with the most day lighting or window area, respectively.

  12. Well andy….
    The NOAA has a track record of putting out misinformation for political purposes. In my eyes that warrants dismissing anything they have to say out of hand. Looking elsewhere I find great debate as to whether there is cooling or warming going on…depending on how you measure it and how you analyze the data. This debate should be playing out amongst the scientific community in peer reviewed journals and not in the media and with political hacks. The introduction of such things into scientific debate seriously damages the credibility of science .
    Given that there is alot of debate on even whether there is warming or cooling, much less on whether we are causing it perhaps it is a little premature for government bureacrats to be making laws and mandatory requirements that limit our liberties.
    Between obamas admission that his plan would make electricity sky-rocket, Bidens proclamation to bankrupt the coal industry, and Chu’s wish for ten dollar gasoline, I can sum up their agenda easily.
    ” It is our wish to impoverish western civilization”
    It looks like it is pretty easy for them to get all the chicken littles of the world to squak and run around in panicked circles in support of their agenda.

  13. Cody, you discredit scientists simply because of your political stance and then claim the debate needs to be science based. This seems hypocritical and a failure of reasoning, and tends to make your views appear obviously biased.

    You continue on and reference no real scientific data and instead dismiss all existing real research saying “there is much debate and we can’t be sure”.

    We are sure. The planet is warming and we are responsible for at least part of the factors that caused it. Truth will continue to be true regardless of your acceptance of it or how comfortable you are with it.

    You then go on to make it clear your distaste for the executive branch, specifically, of the United States government. What your interpretation of anyone’s agenda is doesn’t mean much outside your own mind.

    You end with an ad hominem blanket attack on anyone who disagrees with you with your “chicken little” remark.

    You have no real contribution other than to misinform, belittle, and berate. Please contribute to the discussion in some meaningful way – not just to stir the pot.

  14. I am an environmentalist, however it is untrue to say that there are no major health and safety effects from these bulbs. We realize this is another “inconvenient truth” started under the Bush Administration, but as part of the (ad hoc) CFL Impacting Working Group, we have uncovered many photosensitive populations (immunological, dermatological and/or neurological) with adverse lth/safety/disability accommodation effects from the UVA/UVB and CFF (critical flicker frequency) properties unique to CFLs and other fluorescents, that are not present in incandescents and LEDs. LEDs still require some work to be viable, but are the best true green answer at this moment. The US needs to follow Canada’s actions in a two-year defacto incandescent ban to allow for color warmth, mass production, cost and glare issues to be addressed. For more information, see http://www.cflimpact.com. Unlike sources of much other information, we have no conflicts of interests and are involved on a pro-bono, bi-partisan, patient centered focus.

  15. Sad thing is most people dont grasp that the goverment shouldnt be making a law for lightbulbs anyway. Should be up to the home owner what they choose to put and use in thier home. The option for different bulbs is nice but a law to force people to change is just plain stupid. Whats next make actual laws to force everyone to have the approved ammount of vegis in your diet. After all its proven its better for you to eat your vegis. Should we get the goverment involved to make sure everyone eats thiers of thiers fees and penaltys, Or should the options be available and the goverment should just stay out of our homes.

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