Are 100-Watt Light Bulbs Going Away?

Yes, the 100-watt light bulbs we have all known for years are being phased out. They’re energy hogs. Over 90% of the energy used by incandescent light bulbs is turned into heat and not light. California began the phase-out this year and the rest of the country will begin January 1, 2012.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that was signed into law by President George W. Bush requires 100-watt general service light bulbs made on or after January 1, 2012 to use 28% less energy while providing the same amount of light and lasting as long current bulbs. This means that 100-watt light bulbs will be replaced by 72-watt (or less) bulbs that are just as bright.

Traditional incandescent light bulbs just cannot reach those levels of efficiency and will no longer be available. Alternatives to traditional incandescents include halogens, compact fluorescents (CFL), and light emitting diodes (LED).

Halogen replacements will provide lighting that is most similar to traditional incandescents but will be the least energy efficient of the choices.

Compact fluorescents will be more energy efficient and their color characteristics have improved considerably recently, but they will take a minute or two to reach full brightness and most cannot be dimmed. Learn more about CFLs at Energy Star.

LEDs are promising but are not as readily available as CFLs for replacing 100-watt incandescents. They will likely be more energy efficient than CFLs and their prices continue to fall. Learn more about LED light bulbs and residential LED lighting at Energy Star.

75-watt incandescents will be phased out in 2013 and 40- and 60-watt incandescents will be phased out in 2014. Three-way bulbs, bulbs 150-watts and over, and specialty bulbs will not be phased out.

We’ll be happy to help you decide which replacement bulbs are best for your situation and we anticipate having stock on 100-watt light bulbs for some time for our customers who need them.