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Future Of Incandescent Lightbulbs Is Dim

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(credit: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

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MIAMI (CBS4) — Thomas Edison must be rolling over in his grave. This year is the beginning of the end for the incandescent light bulb. The phase out is part of the “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.”

Good old fashioned incandescent bulbs will soon extinct, just like dinosaurs, and John Codman isn’t happy about it.

“I will have a stock of incandescent light bulbs,” he said. John’s stocking up because a 3-year-old federal law most people don’t know about raises efficiency standards for light bulbs and the old energy inefficient incandescents won’t pass.

Codman has collected about 400 bulbs so far.

Here’s how the Energy Independence and Security Act will phase out these bulbs. At the beginning of 2012, 100 watt incandescents will phase out. The next year, its 75 watts and in 2014, say goodbye to the 40 watt bulb.

“I’m not going to have a basement full of them, but I’m going to have a few cases,” says Codman.

What about the rest of us?

CFL’s, or compact fluorescent bulbs, are available but a lot of people aren’t crazy about them. They don’t get to full brightness instantly, and they contain tiny amounts of mercury, so if you break one, you have mercury to contend with.

So what’s next?

The Sylvania Company says the future of lights is LEDs, light emitting diodes. LEDs are just now coming on the market for home use, though they’ve been available for commercial use for a while.

“The LED equivalent is 80-percent more efficient and will last 25 times longer,” says Dr. Makarand Chipalkatti from Osram Sylvania.

The LEDs don’t have mercury, they’re instant on and dimmable but they’re expensive, about $20 but prices are dropping.

“The same 40 watt bulb was once $40,” says Chipalkatti. “Over the life of the lamp, you would probably save something like $130.”

As we’ve seen with other electronic products, prices are expected to keep dropping. Consumers will save electricity and so will the country.

“We will actually make a big dent in our energy consumption,” says Sylvania’s Chipalkatti.

As for John? Well, he’s no light bulb snob. He has a couple of CFLs and is even trying out an LED. He just doesn’t like the government telling him how to light up his life.

Halogen bulbs are another alternative already on the market but they’re not as efficient as CFL’s and they’re expensive.

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