U.S. Bans Incandescent Light Bulbs: Here’s What To Know


The Biden Administration implemented a ban on incandescent light bulbs on Tuesday in favor of energy-efficient bulbs, following a yearslong bipartisan effort to phase out the bulbs after earlier regulations and standards were blocked by former President Donald Trump.

Incandescent light bulb
New Department of Energy regulations will phase out incandescent light bulbs.GETTY IMAGES


The Department of Energy approved new rules for light bulbs last year that took effect on August 1, including a new minimum standard for light bulbs at 45 lumens—or brightness—per watt, an increase over the average 12 to 18 lumens per watt for incandescent bulbs.

Retailers will be prohibited from selling any bulbs—including incandescent bulbs—that don’t match the new standard, though households using any existing bulb that does not meet the standard will not be required to stop using them.

The decision was meant to conserve energy and “help consumers save on their energy bills,” as more energy-efficient bulbs—like LEDs—use at least 75% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, according to the department.

An effort to phase out less efficient bulbs was initiated by former President George W. Bush, whose Energy Independence and Security Act in 2007 called for household light bulbs to have “about 25% greater efficiency,” though it did not outright ban incandescent bulbs, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Former President Barack Obama added two new regulations to the act in 2017, which would have effectively phased out incandescent bulbs and other specialty bulbs, like candle-shaped bulbs used in chandeliers, by January 2020, according to the EPA.

The Department of Energy later blocked the regulations during Trump’s presidency in 2019, after Trump—who said energy-efficient bulbs Americans were “being forced to use” made him “look orange”—advocated against them and other environmental regulations.

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