The Harper Conservative government is enacting a federal ban on incandescent light bulbs beginning in the New Year.
A federal ban on the import of 75-watt and 100-watt incandescent light bulbs goes into effect on January 1, 2014. The second phase of the incandescent light bulb ban goes into effect on December 31, 2014 with the restriction on the importation of 40-watt and 60-watt light bulbs. The ‘inefficient light bulbs’ will remain on store shelves following the ban date until supplies run out.
The federal policy was first announced nearly seven years ago, and it joins British Columbia’s provincial ban which began in early-2011 when stores were not permitted to order 75-watt and 100-watt incandescent bulbs once supplies ran out.
The federal government has yet to decide on what regulations will be put into place to limit the amount of toxic mercury manufactured in the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs – the new standard, efficient light bulb that replaces traditional incandescents.
However, it is considering the retainment of a different type of incandescent bulb that is filled with halogen gas – even though it does not meet the efficiency standards that led to next year’s ban of traditional incandescent bulbs. Halogen incandescent bulbs are less expensive than CFLs, more efficient than the banned traditional incandescents, and do not contain any mercury. They are also permitted in the United States.
According to BC Hydro, CFLs cost more up front ($3 to $10 on average), but they quickly pay for themselves in two ways. Because they use much less energy, you will save on your electrical bill as soon as you start using them.
Their durability makes CFLs a great choice for hard-to-reach fixtures like ceiling pot lights and chandeliers, and because they come in so many varieties, you can find them to fit most of your existing fixtures.
In addition, CFLs use approximately 75 per cent less energy and can last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescents (about 8,000 – 10,000 hours compared to 1,000 hours for incandescents).
If the average B.C. home replaced all their incandescents with CFLs, it would save approximately 830 kilowatt hours a year. That is about as much energy as you would use watching over 4,100 episodes of your favourite TV program or doing 1,250 loads of laundry on a front loading washer.
Nearly 80 per cent of homes in B.C. already use CFLs and are benefiting from the associated savings. This results in 600 gigawatt hours of electricity savings per year, the equivalent energy consumption of more than 50,000 households.
Do you have a specific preference in light bulb type? And why? Let us know by commenting below.