IKEA to Phase-Out Incandescents Starting August 1st, 2010

ikea incandescent lightbulbs photo

Photo: Flickr, CC
First U.S. Retailer to Phase Out the Bulb
Starting August 1st, 2010, IKEA will start phasing out incandescent bulbs (which are a lot more effective at producing heat than light) from its U.S. stores, with the goal of having completely eliminated the bulb by January 1st, 2011. But IKEA isn't only doing this out of concern for the environment: "The IKEA phase out will come in advance of the federal legislation that will begin to phase out incandescent light bulbs in 2012." Why are they doing this and what will replace incandescents? Read on for more details.
ikea incandescent lightbulbs photo

Photo: Flickr, CC
IKEA customers will have a good choice of other effective energy saving bulbs. While the compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) is the most popular bulb, IKEA also offers a range of LED lamps which are 70% more efficient than using incandescent bulbs. IKEA Halogen lamps which consume 30% less energy are also a great 'white light' alternative. And beginning fall, 2010, IKEA will offer a halogen bulb which can be used in a standard light socket. This is called a retro-fit halogen bulb.

Compact fluorescents (CFLs) are already well-known and probably the best option for most lighting needs until LED bulbs come down a bit in price and improve in light quality (some are already quite good, but not all of them). Halogens can also be an improvement - especially if you need directional white light - but they aren't quite efficient enough.

What you must remember if you get CFLs is to dispose them properly when they burn out. They contain a small amount of mercury (less than would be emitted by a coal plant if you bought an incandescent, but still) so they must be properly recycled and not just thrown in the trash. IKEA stores usually have CFL recycling bins somewhere near the exit.

If you are really worried about mercury, some CFLs are especially designed so that the mercury can't escape if you break the bulb.

Via IKEA (pdf), NYT
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