And now for your lighting industry news update: 2020 is just around the corner!
That’s not news, you say – or … why do we present this fact as news? As of January 1, 2020, consumers will not be able to purchase halogen and incandescent light bulbs in stores. These are being replaced – by law – with bulbs that are incredibly more energy efficient. Up to 75-80% more energy efficient, in fact.
As consumers, we’ve already been introduced to the more energy-efficient bulbs; they are compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diode bulbs (LEDs). Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio North has already made the switch to LEDs. We now create all of our residential and commercial outdoor lighting designs with LED lights for three reasons. LED bulbs produce beautiful light, they save our clients money every month in electric bills, and they last much, much longer.
— Stunning LED outdoor lighting.
Since we all already have access to these newer, more energy-efficient bulbs, you may wonder what’s changing in 2020. The difference is that starting January 1, stores will not be allowed to sell bulbs that do not meet a certain standard for energy efficiency. The government’s standard for acceptable energy efficiency is 45 lumens per watt. Halogen and incandescent bulbs don’t meet that standard.
Why the Government Wants to Regulate Light Bulb Efficiency
Congress’ intent in passing this law was to decrease energy consumption nationwide and save consumers and business owners money. We can speculate that few manufacturers would have made the switch from incandescent and halogen bulbs to CFL and LED unless forced to do so by law. In industry, change costs money. Manufacturers would have prioritized their short-term profits over long-term energy savings for the country and long-term energy cost savings for consumers and business owners.
When Congress passed the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), 2020 seemed light-years away. Now, it is on our heels and about to overtake us all. (California, by the way, chose to adopt the new standard in 2018.)
Bulbs You May Remember: EISA Tier 1: Years 2012-2014
The 2007 law phased in the changes with two tiers. The first tier required that traditional incandescent light bulbs were replaced by halogen incandescent bulbs between 2012 and 2014. As a consumer, you may remember when we were told at one point we would have to start using CFLs instead of incandescent bulbs. Many people were angry that the government would try to control this aspect of our everyday lives. You may remember people purchasing and stockpiling the incandescent bulbs in protest.
CFLs were more energy efficient than incandescent and halogen bulbs, but they looked funny and contained mercury. Breaking a CFL was a health hazard! Consumers were more comfortable with their old light bulbs. When LED bulbs became widely available, consumers were put off by the higher cost per bulb.
Suddenly it seemed our old friend, the incandescent bulb, was back on store shelves. It looked the same, but it was actually different. What we have now is an incandescent bulb filled with halogen instead of the inert gas originally used in incandescent bulbs. Today’s halogen incandescent bulbs are more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs, and they last longer. But they don’t last nearly as long as LEDs, and they don’t meet the 45 lumens per watt energy-efficiency standard. Bye-bye!
LED for Everyone: EISA Tier 2: Year 2020
Now comes the second tier of this law. As of January 1, 2020, U.S. stores will not be permitted to sell light bulbs that produce fewer than 45 lumens per watt. While LED is not the only option – CFLs also meet the standard – LED is already the clear winner. LED technology leads the way in reduced energy usage, longer bulb life, and non-toxicity.
The fact remains that LED bulbs, purchased individually, are more expensive than CFL and halogen incandescent bulbs. However, LED bulbs pay for themselves through reduced energy costs by the end of the second year, and they continue to save you money for years. It’s estimated that today’s LED bulbs will last 10-15 years. Two more things to know: you can save money now by purchasing LED bulbs in multi-packs, and it’s likely the price will come down with wider usage.
How Do the New Regulations Affect You, Our Outdoor Lighting Clients?
In terms of outdoor lighting at your home or business, if you’re a new customer, we only use LED bulbs. We work with cutting-edge outdoor lighting technology, and we’re starting you off with the most energy-efficient, longest-lasting bulbs available. If you’ve had an older outdoor lighting system in the past, you’ll see a substantial savings on your electric bill with LED lighting. You won’t need to call us about bulbs burning out and needing to be replaced – at least not for another 10 years or more. That’s what we mean by longer-lasting bulbs.
If you currently have an older system using incandescent or halogen bulbs, we recommend an upgrade to LED. You will definitely appreciate the lower electric bills each month. You may not have to purchase a new system, because Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio North can convert most fixtures to LED. If we installed your original system, it’s probably a good candidate for conversion to LED, but we will need to inspect it before making that determination. If your outdoor lighting system was installed by another company, there is still a good chance we can retro-fit those fixtures for LED rather than replacing them.
Should you go ahead and change the light bulbs in your home to LED, too? We recommend it, especially if you’re concerned about the environment. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, a United States-based, non-profit international environmental advocacy group, few actions can reduce carbon pollution as cheaply and easily as installing more efficient bulbs.
Please call us at (210) 876-1084 or email us to discuss why Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio North is your go-to San Antonio and Hill Country LED outdoor lighting designer and installer of choice. Let us show you our references and why our customers love us!