Lights out for the incandescent bulb

1880 – 2014: Beloved for its soft glow, the bulb was also a notorious energy hog


Michael Flippo/Alamy/GetStock

The incandescent light bulb was born on Jan. 27, 1880, when U.S. inventor Thomas Edison famously patented his “electric lamp.” Others had paved the way, including Canadians Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans, whose 1874 light bulb patent was bought by Edison. But it was the latter who perfected and would commercialize the technology.

The light bulb—in which an electric current passes through a filament that heats up and glows inside a glass bulb—yanked North America into the electric age. Before then, “all street lamps were gas,” says Anna Adamek, who curates the energy collection at the Canada Science and Technology Museum, which includes about 2,000 light bulbs. “Wealthy people could afford gas lamps for interior lighting, but most would use kerosene, oil, or candles.” In 1882, the Canada Cotton Co., in Cornwall, Ont., became the first Canadian company to install electric lights. “Edison personally supervised the installation,” she says. In 1884, the lights went on in the Parliament buildings and, by 1905, the lighting of Canadian cities was well under way. Electric light changed the way people spent their evenings, and the way businesses operated—allowing people to work around the clock. Once electric wiring was installed, manufacturers were spurred to make all sorts of new gadgets and appliances for the home, from electric irons to refrigerators.

Meanwhile, other types of lighting began to emerge. In the early 1900s, American electrical engineer Peter Cooper Hewitt passed an electric current through mercury vapour, creating a precursor to the fluorescent lamp. It was the 1973 oil crisis that spurred the creation of an efficient fluorescent bulb for domestic use. In 1976, an engineer at General Electric devised a way to coil a fluorescent tube, creating the first compact fluorescent light (CFL). By the mid-1980s, CFLs‚ which gave off a cold bluish light, were selling for $25 or $35 apiece.

But the old-fashioned incandescent light bulb remained the most common type of lighting: cheap (at less than a dollar a bulb) and versatile (coming in various wattages and sizes). Their familiar shape became the universal symbol for a good idea, and their simplicity provided the basis for one of the world’s most famous jokes: “How many [insert target here] does it take to screw in a light bulb?” They were also prized for the colour they cast. “Incandescent produces a warm, comfortable light,” says Ottawa architectural designer Michael Simon. “It’s one step away from candlelight.”

The incandescent bulb’s weakness was its inefficiency—it uses up to 90 per cent of the electricity it consumes as heat—along with its relatively short lifespan of about 900 hours, compared to a CFL’s 10,000. The newer light-emitting diode (LED), does even better, at 25,000 hours.

By the 1990s, environmental worries and fears of global warming made energy efficiency more important. For governments, the lowly light bulb became an obvious target—the “low-hanging fruit,” says Tyler Bryant of the David Suzuki Foundation. In 2007, Canada announced a plan to restrict the import and interprovincial sale of inefficient incandescent light bulbs by 2012, later pushed back until 2014, partly due to consumer concerns. (In October, restrictions were eased somewhat to permit incandescent halogen bulbs, which are more efficient than traditional incandescents.) Other jurisdictions, such as the U.S. and the European Union, have enacted bans, too.

As the ban approached, many fretted over the cost of replacing their household lights with CFLs and LEDs, as well as the small amount of mercury inside fluorescents—not to mention the loss of pleasant-coloured lighting at home. Traditionalists have responded by stockpiling their beloved bulbs. In the U.K., the Daily Mail carried a story of a 62-year-old pensioner, who hoarded enough to see her “into the grave.” Riffing on the old joke, Freedom Light Bulb, a U.S. blog, asked: “How many politicians or bureaucrats should it take to change a light bulb?” The answer: “None.” On Jan. 1, 2014, Canada’s new regulations will be phased in. Stores will sell through existing inventory; not long after, that warm familiar glow will be gone for good.


Lights out for the incandescent bulb

  1. People are never ready for change, yet the 21C will be constant change…..

  2. The Nat Resources Dept and Minister Joe Oliver justify the ban by saying
    “10% of domestic electricity is used for lighting”

    This ignores that around half of domestic lighting is not incandescent anyway, especially the mainly used kitchen lighting, also that replacements use electricity, also the heat replacement of incandescents and power factor (PF) issues of CFLs and LEDs (effectively energy use not recorded by the meters), also that domestic electricity
    is a small part of overall grid demand (industrial, commercial, municipal, transport – with hardly any incandescent use in any of those sectors).

    On a general level, also the life cycle energy use of more complex replacement lighting, including transport in all stages from mineral mining to recycling (when not dumped, leeching mercury etc) and bunker oil powered shipping from China by major manufacturers, compared to easier local Canada manufacture by small/new manufacturers of patent-free simple incandescent bulbs.

    Incandescent electricity use is just fractional amounts of mostly off-peak evening-night surplus electricity, as per usage and grid data references, effectively smaller still given the bulb heat supplied as per Ontario/BC institutional studies, and with the Canadian Center for Housing Technology also confirming that 83% to 100% of lighting energy contributes to heat demand reduction.

    “The total reduction [in energy use] would be 0.54 x 0.8 x 0.76% = 0.33%,
    This figure is almost certainly an overestimate,
    particularly as the inefficiency of conventional bulbs generates heat which supplements other forms of heating in winter.

    Which begs the question: is it really worth it?
    Politicians are forcing a change to a particular technology which is fine for some applications but not universally liked, and which has disadvantages.
    The problem is that legislators are unable to tackle the big issues of energy use effectively, so go for the soft target of a high profile domestic use of energy…
    …This is gesture politics.”

    Using comparable European Commission VITO data to similarly cut down
    even greater “15% of domestic electricity use” type statements, this
    came from the Cambridge University Scientific Alliance, UK Government
    advisers from several institutions normally supportive of energy and
    emission measures, similarly with other referenced science institution
    communications from different countries
    (see Freedomlightbulb site as mentioned in the article,
    “Why the Canada Light Bulb Ban is Wrong”)

    The light bulb ban makes no sense – except for the major manufacturers mentioned in the Government ban proposal, who lobbied for and got ban on cheap patent expired generic lighting, relatively unprofitable compared to complex patented expensive alternatives.

    • Good post and I agree.
      The Grammar Nazi must make a point, though. Your data “raises” the question of whether we need this change; it doesn’t ‘beg’ the question.
      Begging the question means asserting something redundantly.
      Example of begging the question:
      “In their reply, they said everyone had been standing to avoid sitting, which merely begged the question of why they were afraid to sit down.”

      • One of the saddest things on Earth is a “Grammar Nazi” who doesn’t know the difference between grammar and diction.

  3. Halogens banned too:

    Note that adoption of US law, defended for trade harmonisation reasons, will also ban the supposedly “allowed” replacement 72W for 100W etc Halogen incandescent types, similar to regular bulbs but much more expensive for marginal savings, so not
    popular with politicians (no halogen switchover programs!) or with consumers in a free choice.

    USA EISA Tier 2 2014-2017 has 45 lumen per Watt minimum final rule, equating to fluorescent bulbs (backstop 2020 latest implementation)
    A planned tier 3 will likely see LED lighting switchover requirement, as already planned in Japan and under discussion in the EU.

    Also supposedly exempt lighting may come to be restricted or banned

    ”Exemption reversal condition: The Act includes a provision whereby, in cooperation with NEMA, sales of certain exempted lamps will be monitored, specifically:
    • rough service (ie Newcandescent, Aero-Tech and similar lamps)
    • vibration service
    • 2601-3300 lumen general service (150-200W)
    • 3-way
    • shatter-resistant lamps

    For each of these lamp types, if sales double above the increase modeled for a given year — signaling that consumers are shifting from standard incandescents to these incandescents and thereby supposedly not saving energy — the lamp type will lose the exemption. ”

    Whatever happened to a Stephen Harper “free market” government?

  4. Energy savings brought on by the ban will be insignificant anywhere north of the 45th parallel. Basically Canada! Shabby science, influential lobbies and certainly some brown envelopes behind this ban. Compact fluorescents should be banned as dangerous materials.. LED market should be regulated to avoid the indecent overpricing we will be subjected to. NB. China is almost 100% LED. LED should be cheap. Note to investors; buy Philips stock now. They have the North American LED market cornered. Profits will be spectacular. Free market economy my ass. Here we go getting screwed again.

    • I’d even read some research years ago that said, in Canada, the incandescent bulb made up for it’s less efficient energy use by contributing heat to the home in winters. But don’t tell that to the light-bulb regulators, they’ll start demanding we have “winter bulbs” and “summer bulbs”, and we’ll have to change them every 6 months.

      • That would be annoying, but at least it would make scientific sense! Highway and city street lighting should be the first to go LED. But that would make too much sense. Easier to gouge the pockets of the defenseless consumer.

        • A lot of traffic lights have switched to LEDs already. One unforeseen problem: Because they don’t give off as much heat, they are more prone to snow buildup obscuring the signal.

      • At best, the contribution to home heating was wasteful. Since, a lot of lightbulbs are mounted on ceiling fixtures, a lot of the heat is released close to the ceiling where it does little good. Since heat rises, most of that heat will escape through the ceiling to the attic.

        • False. The NRC did comparative testing on twin houses and overall energy savings are nil. Scientific fact not marketing fiction. Also, incandescent bulbs emit a large part of their heat through radiation. Position in space is inconsequential. Moreover, they are more than likely to be emitting this heat in a room that is under use. Cold months are also dark months! If used intelligently, they can be a logical and efficient part of an integrated heating system. Because radiant heat is instantaneous and local, the mean temperature of a house can be kept lower. While outdoors is a no brainer for LED or CFL, it is not so clear cut for indoors.

          • Citation please.

          • Alright, I’m calling BS on Bob if he can’t produce the paper. There’s no way a legitimate NRC paper wouldn’t have considered increased cooling costs associated with incandescents during cooling season. And further, that the the heating contributed by incandescents is extremely inefficient. This is particularly illustrated in instances where the electricity powering them is being generated by combustion of fossil fuels, while the primary heating source they’re replacing is heat generated directly by the combustion of fossil fuels.
            Ergo, there’s no way the energy savings are “nil”.

          • Great porky Lenny! How and where do you come to the conclusion that I implied cooling costs were not considered? And what happens when your electricity is Hydro and your furnace is burning oil? Also, even if both your sources are fossil fuels, don’t you think that the centralized unit producing electricity has a better chance of being optimized and cleaner than the 100 000 customers running their own oil burning furnace in the basement with varying degrees of maintenance and optimization? Note my word Lenny. I said “not clear cut”. I did not say impossible. Porky to you my friend.

          • Oil heats less than 10% of Canadian homes and is an ever shrinking number. But even in the case of centralized, fossil fuel generated power, converting it directly to heat in a crappy old furnace is still much more efficient than burning it to drive turbines and generate electricity, transmitting that electricity to the home, then converting that electricity to heat. In the case of replacing hydro-powered heat with fossil fuel heat – obviously you’ll be producing more CO2.
            Details aside, you completely misrepresented the conclusion of the study, describing it as showing “nil” energy saving from CFLs when in fact the study concluded that, ” the compact fluorescent lighting has significant impact on the energy and cost savings in houses”, which it quantified as a 3.7% reduction in electrical consumption.

          • I’d love to know why “Bob” suddenly showed up to tell porkies, but alas, I don’t think we’ll be hearing from him again.

          • Yes that is one. 3.7% total electrical savings. Half of which needs to be compensated by the heating system. Ok. Not nil. But negligible considering that you could put an incandescent bulb in the blender and eat it with no risk to your health. I would have no issue if the objective was to go directly from incandescent to proper LED. But promoting a stupid invention like the CFL on such insignificant numbers is not justified in our cold climates. There are myriads of ways to reduce electric consumption by that amount without introducing more poison in the environment. For starters, recognizing that, apart for certain parts of southern Ontario, a half well built house in Canada should never need to be mechanically cooled. The largest untapped electrical resource is waste. Negawatts. That is where governments should spend their efforts.
            This project is greenwashing. We deserve better.

          • 1.8% savings for a country of 35 million is no small amount of money or energy. As an engineer, I agree and disagree with your assertion regarding mechanical cooling. The key would be smaller houses that can use passive ventilation effectively. Unfortunately, passive ventilation is harder to achieve with the big houses and multi-unit dwellings that account for most housing. On top of that, the measures we put in place to counter heat losses during the heating season also reduce passive cooling.

          • Actually, the true question here is not total consumption but peak consumption. That is an argument I respect and understand in regards to the infrastructure required. Still, the promotion of CFL’s is not a solution and we will hopefully one day soon remember it only as a bad dream. LED is the future and the government should be taking steps so that we don’t get screwed by overpricing instead of regulating us into the mouths of the wolves!

          • No, not “half”. And not “negligible” according to the very study you’re fond of misrepresenting.
            But I agree with you about waste and poor building practices.
            And there’s a rather simpler solution that would address it all rather than cumbersome and costly piecemeal regulation telling people what kind of lightbulbs they can buy, how they can build, etc. – a carbon tax.

          • You may call it misrepresenting, I call it perspective. While the 26% saving in lighting costs is a truly significant number it applies to only peak demand. The 3.7% (max) number is too small to be turned around and applied as a reference for all housing in Canada. There are simply too many variables. Carbon taxes are one way. Hydro-Quebec has started charging variable rates by differentiating mean demand and peak demand. This is now possible with “smart” counters. The objective is to “catch” over-users, such as people who cool their houses while heating the pool!

          • I was being kind to call it “misrepresenting”. Lying would be the less polite term.
            “The 3.7% (max) number is too small to be turned around and applied as a reference for all housing in Canada.”

            Funny that you thought the study wash just fine as a national reference before you got caught lying about it’s conclusion.
            who do you work for, Bob?

          • Ok Lenny. Never mind. I can see you are just looking for a fight. Get a life.

    • LED should be cheaper and prices will fall over time. However, even with prices as they are, you can easily recoup the cost of LED bulbs through electricity efficiency and extended bulb lifetime. I bought LED’s months ago. I’ve already recouped most of the cost through electricity savings and I’ll probably never have to replace the bulbs.

      • LED is already cheap to produce. Most of china is on LED. LED is simply being marketed as a “green” premium priced product in North-America and we will be paying through our noses for quite a while. Read “shafted”. Plus, actual experience in the field shows that instead of using the ten fold energy savings from LED to actually save energy, designers and architects are tempted to use ten times the lighting to colorize and show off their works! Really cute!

        • Yes, but Chinese citizens does NOT pay even near as much , what Canadians pay for those LED bulbs.
          …and that begs the question: Is there even ANY Canadian manufacturers of LED’s right here in Canada, ?, somewhere, anywhere,… ?
          Oh sry, I forgot there is NO manufacturing of anything in Canuckada anymore.
          Basically, the savings amount to nothing, yes I spent $450.00 to replace all of my bubls to LED’s, but that’s becuase I could spare the money.
          But mostly, it’s becuase I like seeing $8 less/per month going to those crooks <-Ontario Hydro. !

      • recoup? -barely, savings? NONE, the cost if LED’s in Canada, are insane.

  5. Shelves at the local store were running low because a lot of us were stocking up. I won’t have to make the switch now for a decade at least.

    • Yes I have my stash of lightbulbs as well – good to go for at least a decade if not more. Every week I buy a couple of lightbulbs.

  6. There is NO problem in using the new bulbs. It only takes a call to your local

    Hazmat service should you break one.
    Or as an alternative if they are not available ..
    Follow the “simple” instructions..evacuate the room of children pets ect. DO NOT vacuum
    (spreads toxic material in the air) Wearing a suitable mask for breathing ,carefully collect the glass ect in a damp paper towel. Place in a plastic bag.DO NOT put it in the garbage..drive it to your closest hazardous material depot .You will have to dispose of unbroken burned out bulbs this way as well(Hazardous Material Depot.)

    • LOL kids used to coat pennies with mercury. Rolled mercury in their hands. People had thermometers indoors and outdoors in their homes. You don’t need any Hazmat.

      You can, however, hoard your old lightbulbs next to the stash of candles your GGGGrandparents hid, on the theory they might make a come-back.

      • Glad you decided mercury is not harmful. Now Ontario can build some new coal burning plants, clearly the most economical option.

        • One aspirin will fix your headache, a bottle of aspirin will kill you.


          • Help yourself to a bottle.

          • ‘Plenty of people who like to think they believe in free speech strongly dislike it when they meet it.’

          • Your right to free speech also protects my right to point out what a complete fool you are any time I feel like it. You need constant reminders.

          • You have a right to your own opinion…..you don’t have a right to your own facts.

            And you have no facts. You never do. Just a mouth.

            I am free to correct you at anytime.

          • I happen to be an early adopter of the spirals. I was buying them when they cost $10 each. They are energy efficient and last a Lon time (though many of the early ones were faulty). I continue to use them throughout my house. They add little energy efficiency in the winter, but pay for themselves in the summer. However, I do have concerns about mercury, legitimate concerns that are not allayed by your silly stories about kids playing with mercury. For the same reasons we don’t use mercury in fillings anymore. Not every issue is black and white, even you choose to paint it like that.

          • I support the ban, despite my doubts. I also support clean coal burning plants (not an oxymoron in the least). However, I do not simply dismiss concerns about mercury. I don’t eat tuna out of concern for mercury, won’t even feed it to my cats. So it would be foolish to show disdain and contempt for anyone who does not support the ban, even if I do. Sometimes the other guy has a point. You can’t seem to ever accept that.

          • Evidence – based. Science. That’s what I go on.

          • And science proved more than a century ago that mercury is poisonous.

          • And I will repeat….one aspirin cures a headache…a bottle can kill

          • Emily,
            No one here actually believes you look at any evidence that contradicts your pre-conceived notions.
            Half of an argument is good enough for you.

      • True.
        After all……eating all of those paint chips as a child clearly had no effect on Emily’s brain.

  7. These bulbs cause more pollution in our landfills than the old bulbs. The reason being is, there’s more piousness lead in the base. And can not be recycled.

    • Ron, no problem.

      Find out if your MP voted for this idiocy and if he did the solution for disposal is easy. Take your burnt out “government authorized” light bulbs over to his house and smash them in his driveway.

    • Not to worry.
      Government will set up an incineration gravy train program where they will have to spend four or five times the energy they think the save with these bulbs, to incinerate the old ones because you can’t landfill these things without making everyone very ill…or killed.

  8. In which US states will I still be able to buy regular incandescent bulbs? I do a lot of cross-border shopping.

    • Canada is following a US initiative on this which started with GWB in 2007 when he gave in to climate nuts and placed a ban on manufacturing of incandescent bulbs.
      The best way is to buy a large stock while we will work at changing the law. It could anywhere between a year to at least until 2016 after the elections

        • Yes we know.
          The insanity that climate change infestation created back during 2000-2009 before climategate has in fact caused this nonsense.
          The problem is that we are NET EXPORTERS of electricity in Canada, so why are the people being forced against their constitutional right to purchase a product they don’t need?.

          • Energy efficiency is a good thing, no matter what political party you’re in.

            And there is no such ‘constitutional right’.

          • Eating Broccoli is also deemed a “good thing” , but i suppose you would gladly allow the government to force-feed you regularly even if you hate it:-)

            First of who says forcing people to purchase an environmentally dangerous product (such as Mercury poison contained in CFLs) is necessarily going to conserve energy?
            CFL lights will take huge amounts of energy to safely dispose of in such a way that it does not effect water and food supplies.
            I suppose you would gladly pay for that energy consumption, because I am not.

            Secondly we are following a US direction on this because clearly if we don’t outlaw Incandescent bulbs here, there will be an underground smuggling industry into the US which our government does not have a backbone to deal with, so instead it forces us to comply…which brings us to the “constitutionality” of this insanity.

            I can sight several paragraphs in the Canadian Charter that is violated by this idiocy, ‘censorship” and “Freedom Of Commercial expression” being only two of them.

            As for United States Constitution, oh boy…forcing “the people” to buy products is definitely against a few amendments (which you can look up for yourself )

          • The govts ordered more efficient lighting. The companies then produced what’s on store shelves.

            All the govts. This is global. Not US/Canadian

            And the Charter of Rights says nothing about it.

            The US constitution is irrelevant in Canada

          • What’s this “global” thing you talk about (Wikipedia?)

            Governments CAN’T order private companies (like light bulb manufacturers) to produce anything .

            Our government has followed in US footsteps (GWB executive order 2007) to make manufacturing and importing of incandescent light bulbs illegal (to appease environmentalist nut cases and mostly because he was so unpopular and this was his way of appealing to some opposition and getting them off his back).

            This alone makes the Canadian following in violation of the charter.

            Also American constitution is very relevant here because when Americans repeal this law based on constitutionality, then Canadians can simply go across the border and buy their light bulbs .

          • Global…..as in all over the world.

            Govts can indeed set legal standards.

            No one is going back to the century old, inefficient bulbs.

          • You sound like a student so I make this my last response.
            The “GLOBE” you speak of (the one that I happen to currently reside on) has 7 billion inhabitants and rising, occupying over 196 countries.
            40% or them live in only two countries (China and India) .

            So this is how this idiocy is suppose to pan out;
            Manufacturing of cheaper incandescent light bulbs will be pushed to emerging populous economies (China and India) because they can’t afford the price tag on silly new CFLs and LEDs.
            People in the first world will subsidize their governments via paying excessive amounts of money for these things.(more taxes on light bulbs)
            Nothing will be achieved other than people in the first world paying MORE taxes than ever before.

            The End.!

          • You’ve been told several times now. Put your glasses on.

            ‘Governments around the world have passed measures to phase out incandescent light bulbs
            for general lighting in favor of more energy-efficient lighting
            alternatives. Phase-out regulations effectively ban the manufacture,
            importation or sale of current incandescent light bulbs for general

            So enough with the partisan tax nonsense.

          • Which “governments”???
            There are 196 governments around the world…which ones???
            Do you guys understand what you read?

          • Are you honestly now announcing in public that you don’t know what a govt is….or the names of the govts involved?


          • What are you 12?

            I’m done here.
            Make sure you tell your parents to turn parental filters up a few notches.
            You shouldn’t even be here.

            Good night.

          • You’re done alright….because you are talking nonsense.

            I’m 67…..sound’s like it’s YOU that’s 12.

          • I want my old bulbs. Therefore, I will find a way to buy my old bulbs. Swap meets, eBay, international shipping, whatever. No one is going to tell me what to use to light my home. Until jack-booted environmental thugs come breaking into my house to confiscate contraband bulbs, I will use incandescent. End of story.

          • LOL well Megan, if that’s the major cause you want to spend your life on, feel free. There is no cure for stupid.

          • You environmentalists are so pleasant. And anyone who disagrees with you is stupid! Funny how that works out. What’s it like to be so morally superior?

          • LOL the govt determines what you eat and drink, how fast you
            can travel, what you can wear, what TV shows you can watch, and how your house is built….but light bulbs are some kind of test for you?

          • Yes, enough is enough. The line has to be drawn somewhere, why not lightbulbs? Do you enjoy living in a “nanny state” that much?

          • It’s a matter of intelligence and energy efficiency Megan. Do you like living in your ninny state ideology?

          • You can’t speak two sentences without an insult. What is wrong with your type?

          • I haven’t got a ‘type’….but I can’t abide stupid.

          • I actually feel sorry for people like you. It’s tough talking to you on the internet, but in real life you’re pretty pathetic. Goodbye.

          • No you don’t, and you don’t have an answer either.

          • Welcome to macleans Megan. Emily has been defiling the discussion here since 2007. She’s been taken to task for it by more than one macleans columnist, yet they haven’t seen fit to ban her.

          • Emily is right; she’s not a “type”, but (thankfully) a class of one.

            My own lighting is a mix of old incandescents, halogens (mostly) and CFLs. Though I plan to migrate, over time, to LEDs. I have to say, though – incandescents give the most pleasing light.

          • You used ‘class’ and ‘Emily’ in the same sentence. An accident I assume. Don’t worry about it. It happens. :)

          • Yes, they do. That’s why I want to continue to use them in my home. I spent a lot of money decorating it and getting it just how I like it, including the lighting. I can’t see how this is any business of the government’s.

          • Megan its not too late to start stocking up from your local supplier.
            Enough of ramming everything down our throats because “its good for us”.
            I don’t have to live and invest in Canada, which is what these people want…drive wealth and prosperity out and replace it with a communist style nanny state.
            I am proud to see you stand up to this. Good job and and best of luck.

          • Ahh yes, the fabulously wealthy who know better than anyone else including scientists. Hah!

          • You are quite welcome to let your ‘scientists” take your leash. Thanks god we don’t all think the same way:-)

          • The same way? You mean evidence-based decisions?

          • By evidence, you mean Wikipedia.

          • Thanks, Cyrus. Hopefully the politicians will repeal these silly laws the same way they repealed the ridiculous Canadian gun registry. Until then, I’ll keep up the good fight.

          • It’s a global agreement….and there are many others.

            I’m afraid you’ll both just have to get over it.

          • No one is forcing you to buy CFLs. Halogens are available (for now at least) and then there are the LEDs…

  9. 50 years from now when North American rates of Mercury related deaths and illnesses have gone through the roof and when an equally rising energy consumption for lighting has shown no signs of being relieved after forcing people to buy a a certain type of product against their constitutional rights, we will wonder who started it all.
    Let us mark Jan.1.2014 for the day that Environmentalist insanity started to kill us all.

  10. This also begs the question of why exactly are we conserving energy when we are having to sell our excess at a loss? It seems to me we have a push me pull me thing going on. The message is that we must reduce, reuse and recycle while our economy tanks because we aren’t spending enough locally and yet we are building wind farms and solar fields for energy we don’t need? Have our politicians gone nuts?

    • …and we pay wind farmers NOT to produce super expensive electricity because it elevates the median market price of electricity which we are an EXPORTER of in Ontario:-)
      Insane…I sometimes think that are politicians are in fact foreign subversives:-)

  11. Energy use? Incandescents provide a little bit of heat… For people that don’t bother using central heating… it’s great. Personally hate the fluorescent lighting. Hate it being forced upon us.

  12. Choose LED light bulbs. No mercury. LED use less energy to do the same thing, saves you money. They are more durable and can handle a few bumps. They aren’t affected by humidity or temperature changes. They only heat up a little bit compared to the other bulbs. They don’t burn out as often. Don’t be upset with a little change. It helps to reduce our usage at the power plants.

    • so we have $1 billion to waste on Gas plant cancellations and another $ 8 Billion to sink in dysfunctional windmills for which our electricity bills have tripled in the past 3 years (70% of which is not for electricity consumption) but now suddenly we MUST reduce consumption as well??
      What kind of logic is that for a country that is already a net exporter of electricity?
      LED lights are awful.
      They have an unnatural light and cost an arm and a leg to buy. Why am I being forced to buy this crap?

      • Why are you spamming your comments on this article? I’m sure there are other more important things to discuss rather than changing light bulbs. They are changing because, the ones you like use too much energy to produce light instead of heat. No heats their homes with regular 40 watt bulbs.

        • Some of us read the article before commenting on them:-)
          If you can’t bother reading it, the BIG LIGHT BULB picture should give you a clue:-)
          Now move on.

          • Yea, I read the damn article. You just keep spewing garbage on everyone’s comment. I hope you’re noticing the down votes you get. Just wasting your time posting over and over on the same article. You’re like a fossil, maybe you should settle down before your heart explodes in your chest.

          • so insulting me is supposed to make you …what? right and me wrong?
            It is exactly because of people like yourself that idiot laws come to be…which was the point i was making.
            Thanks for playing along and have a great evening playing with your $30 LED light…make sue you cuddle it in bed tonight:-)

          • Well this was all underway in 2007. You should have been protesting to save cheap little light bulbs many years ago. So you’re a few years too late to be spewing your garbage

          • You know some people observe others the way they observe themselves however I must tell you that not everyone is an idiot:-)

            I will always have a supply of incandescent light bulbs…so will a lot of American and Canadians because we have been stocking them up in case this idiocy goes through…which it now has, and therefore must be repealed/scrapped…******which is the point of having a discussion about it******

            EVERYONE knows they can go to home depot and drop $20-$30 on LED or CFL bulbs…that’;s not exactly a brain teaser like you think it is…which is why I was puzzled as why you thought people are simple idiots not to know about LED and CFLs already:-)

            I’m really done here unless you request more specifics.

          • Hi, I’m Cyrus Manz, I have a room full of inefficient outdated light bulbs.

          • High I’m GhostsStep.
            I have a home that is not even half as lit as Cyrus even though I dropped 50 times more on lighting it than he did.
            I guess I don’t need much light because I’m a Ghost anyway:-)hahaha

            CFLs are not efficient. They do not emit light as good as incandescent do when you move away from them (try it with a lux meter you will see).
            cfls are also TOXIC.
            LEDs are EXPENSIVE and when most Canadians live on poverty line, forcing them to pay so much for light bulbs is bordering criminal.

            Good night:-)

          • Hi I’m Cyrus Mans, and I don’t know why people use online aliases. I also like to talk about light bulbs and light bulb accessories. Back in my day, we used whale oil to light our homes. We stock piled many jars of whale oil in anticipation of its ban. We are good until 2020, if I live that long.

          • Well, thank god Edison rescued you, but cfls and LEDs are political nonsense that do not replace the incandescent bulbs.
            What is it with you guys? It is simple;
            Energy saving is a matter of choice because we pay for our individual use.
            If you want to use whale oil or LEDs be my guest but why support a government ramming of it down our throats?
            That is just cowardly, don’t you think?

      • Try these instead: http://www.ottlite.com/p-267-20-watt-plant-growth-bulb-10-pk-bundle.aspx

        They’re more expensive (of course), but they put out a perfectly natural, white light, that’s not only good for reading, but also work great for starting plants, or keeping them going while there’s no sun.

        As for LED lights, they can be designed to output nearly any frequency of light we want at this point, the trouble is that, while we are being told BY OUR EMPLOYEES that we can’t have “perfectly good and effective lighting”, they are not putting the fiat currency they’re saving into development of better quality, cheaper, less toxic LEDs, as they should.

        It’s a classic case of government underthought…and we get the added benefit of paying for it no matter what the end results might be.

    • a) Usage is irrelevant. In Canada we do not have an electricity usage problem
      – our electrical consumption was in 2010 approx 500 billion kwh
      – our installed generating capacity from other than fossil fuels was in 2010 approx 815 billion kwh

      b) The newer non-incandescent devices may burn out frequently
      – they are subject to high failure rates if they are turned on and off frequently.
      – they have a much more rapid loss of luminosity over time than the incandescents.

      This ridiculous legislation was poorly researched and is being rammed down our throats by 308 elected fools sitting in Ottawa.

      • Which devices are you talking about? Testing by Consumer Reports (Jan ’14 issue) indicates their tests of LEDs so far show they last at least as long as claimed and with no loss of lumens over their life cycle.

        Not sure about CFLs; my own experience would seem to back your claim about declining output over time.

        Please be specific and cite source for your claim.

  13. These light bulbs came under attack in both Canada and the U.S. at about the same time in 2007.

    There is however a significant difference in approach, Canada vs the U.S.

    The United States main concern was a debilitating reliance on middle east oil and George Bush brought in the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) to combat the problem. The U.S. however did not specifically ban the bulbs their legislation requires that 100W lamps, or more specifically lamps with a light output of around 1700 lumens, operate 30% more efficiently.

    The Canadian rules were announced on April 25, 2007 by a left-flaky Federal Environment Minister, John Baird. Canada does not have an energy security problem, we have enough oil and gas reserves to satisfy Canadian domestic usage for more than a hundred years. This is a case of a stupid Canadian Environment Minister and 308 stupid federal legislators forcing the replacement of an inexpensive, relatively safe product with very expensive, high cost imported products that are not safe.

    Unless we start electing responsible, hard thinking people over failed lawyers, failed social workers and babies, we’re likely to become a third world bankrupt nation.

    • John Baird – left? Really??? What is your idea of RIGHT wing?

      • Emily.

        • She refuses to ride motorcycles for fear she may have to lean right.

  14. …’that warm familiar glow will be gone for good…’
    A completely false statement-one can, right now, buy almost as many color temp LED lights as one desires-just look at the Christmas selection of warm white, bright white & cool white.
    I have at this moment, an LED in my closet that I challenge anyone to differentiate with an incandescent.

  15. Of course now we are forced to use these new bulbs. Suppose to be better for the environment and I can see where that could possibly be true However, that doesn’t mean we all have to like it. I myself do not care for these new bulbs. My reason is clearly due to financial reasons. So, I have done what I could to buy up as many of the old bulbs as I could before Jan1, 2014. There are still come out there and I will continue to purchase them. These new ones are just too costly for me.
    I am not an abuser of electricity, I respect it. I just can’t afford to pay for these more expensive ones. Bring the price down and I will gladly purchase them.

  16. In Canada, most of us heat our homes for about 8 months a year. The heat generated by incandescent light bulbs is not lost at all.
    During the summer, due to the long daylight hours, we hardly use the light bulbs at all.
    Has anyone actually calculated this effect?

    • Robert, Robert, Robert. These are government types here making these kinds of decisions. These are generally people who couldn’t get hired at McDonald’s, so they got government jobs. Of course they calculated the effect. They multiplied by “X”, carried the 5, inverted the integer, and um, yeah…,

      • Then they said to themselves “Nobody will ever figure out we’re completely full of shit…we’ll just get Emperor Harperius to go on the news and tell them that they don’t care about that stuff…and they’ll forget all about it.”

    • um, no. because common sense is required, here

  17. Yes, and we’ve made dam sure, that your new LED bulb costs a whopping +2700% more than the icandescants, even though the materials used to make the LEDS are -2700% less than the vacuum-incandecsants. I wonder if that’s called “bait n’ switch”, or is it called Ontario Hydro needs to make their cut, becuase we’ll be “saving” too much electricity on lighting now ?

    • Theft by design. Ontario Hydro is a good example.

      First, they took our tax money (read: OUR MONEY!) to build a provincial power grid, with all the trimmings. Then they (typically) ran it into the ground through the idiocy of “centralized control” that never seemed to understand the million different “local problems” which were never properly addressed.

      Then, once they decided “Well, I’m tired of doing what people pay me to do for them…” they found a corporate buyer to sell it to. Without our consent. Without providing US with any of the proceeds. (After all, the bankers are more important than we are.)

      The corporation refused to buy it because of the immense debt load that “our employees” racked up…so OUR EMPLOYEES decided “Hey! We’ll let you tax your customers, and THEY’LL pay off the debt we mismanaged to such astronomical heights!”

      All the while, we dutifully paid our power bills…while getting ripped off three times in a row, for a single “investment” or our currency, for the enrichment of the government and corporations.

      Interesting note: If you’ve got solar panels because you’re tired of the scams…they’ve protected themselves against your “stupid common sense” already. See, you have to route your solar panels’ output through the meter first, so that if THEY aren’t selling the power you generate, YOU can’t use it either. After all…they don’t want you “stealing the power you generated from them,” now do they? (Yes, one more major non-cost-related reason that fewer people have adopted solar…)

  18. Both the Politicians and the Hydro/Electric companies are online to
    raise rates. First, they’ll eventually “FORCE” you to buy the insanely
    expensive LED’s, false-positives, and then the Hydro companies are simply going to jack
    up their already “illegally”high rates. -you know they will ;) and
    then, you will definitely have to buy LED’s
    GE, Philips,…, ALL
    these corporate giants, and many, many more have been manufacturing and
    building lcd/led circuits for decades, they’ve been in our electroinic
    gadgets forever. -they are the ones who mass produced them in the first
    place, -it’s called Digital Electronics, and it’s been around since the
    late 50’s.
    Don’t get ne wrong, LED Lighting is environmentally
    great, and anyone who is an electronics hobbyists, (like me), even 30
    years ago, knows full well how easy it was/is to build they’re own LED
    bulbs, with just a handfull of LED’s and resistors, and Voila !
    other words, your friendly neoghbourhood Gov’t and Hydro Electric, and
    the “GE”‘s of the world knew all about it for decades.
    I remeber
    buying LED’s in the late 80’s/early 90’s for a couple “pennies” each.
    and gradually over the last couple decades, those simple, little LED’s
    are now over a “dollar” each ?! why ? The world suddenly has a shortage
    of (sand) silicon, or germanium, or,… whatever ? suuuuure,.tell us another lie.

    remeber those “Glow-in-the-dark” toys , and gizmo’s, …? well, think
    about it ? obviously glow-pigments don’t use any electricity. – now that
    is the chemical-technology that needs to be exploited for the future.
    But, we all know the “Big Brother’s” won’t allow that, unless they can find a way to charge us per “usage”,…

  19. Horse hockey.

  20. I’ve never had a problem with how long an incandescent light bulb lasts. Seems to me they last dam near forever and I’ve not seen the reason to switch to a light bulb filled with mercury that can’t be recycled.

    I also can not understand how the heck I’m going to save money on energy by spending $25 or more on a single LED light bulb which are so completely over priced it’s ridiculous to even contemplate using them. How long it’ll take to reap my saving I can’t imagine but I can imagine I’ll be dead and buried before it happens.

  21. Goody goody..now we are all forced to buy the made in China bulbs.

    Two questions. Do we follow the instructions on what to do in the case one of these bulbs break? or just call a hazmat team?
    Most people will just chuck them int the general garbage..all that mercury will be (not)
    good for the environment.

  22. The last time my wife and I flew into a third world city (Manila) at night.I was concerned because the city was completely dark.
    Fly into our North American cities and the bloody office towers (even in the middle of the night) are lit up like Christmas trees
    Here we are with our knickers in a knot over being forced to buy incandescent bulbs full of toxic mercury to “save on energy”
    Good example of the human animal`s lack of common sense and intelligence.

    Vicious cunning and cleverness…nothing more.

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