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IKEA Jumps the Gun on Light Bulb Phase-Out

ikea stops selling incandescent lightsRetail giant IKEA got a running start on the impending phase-out of standard light bulbs in the U.S., with today’s announcement that it has stopped selling all incandescent light bulbs. The move is in response to the Energy Independence Act of 2007, which mandated an end to the energy-sucking lights starting in 2012. And if you didn’t know that there was such a thing as the Energy Independence Act, you’re not alone: In IKEA’s own survey, more than half of the respondents had no idea that the U.S. Congress had ever passed a law that would put an end to America’s love affair with incandescent light bulbs.

Light Bulbs and Public Awareness

IKEA’s survey revealed an interesting thing about buying behavior. Law or no law, more than half of the respondents said they had already changed most of the bulbs in their homes. In fact, the proportion of those who had changed (59%) was just about equal to the proportion of those who had no idea that incandescent bulbs are on the verge of being phased out by law (61%), which seems to indicate that Congress should not be afraid of putting the force of federal law behind common sense changes that save money. They are popular!

Fluorescent Lights and LEDs

Despite some naysaying by critics, the majority of respondents were not concerned about the aesthetics of energy saving light bulbs: lighting intensity, light color, or the use of dimmer switches. The response bodes well for public acceptance of new lighting technology that saves even more energy than compact fluorescent bulbs, as LEDs make the shift from industrial and commercial use into home use.

Light and Goodness

One of the more interesting results of the IKEA survey is that a whopping 81% of the respondents were aware that energy saving lights are “a good environmental practice.” It’s probably safe to assume that none of the  1,011 adults surveyed have seen documentaries like Kilowatt Ours, which illustrates in graphic detail the connection between inefficient lighting and blowing up the Appalachian Mountains for coal, but they do know enough to make the connection between energy and the environment. Again, what is Congress afraid of?

Image: Light bulb by kevygee on

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Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.


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