Dispelling the Myths of Incandescent Bulb Phase-Out

To clear up the confusion of the phase-out of some incandescent bulbs, we would like to share an article from the latest issue of the American Lighting Association’s newsletter (January/February 2014 – Vol. 44, No. 1).  We have reprinted it here as it has accurate information to help you with your light bulb choices. We would love to answer your questions and offer guidance on exploring energy efficient options. In the mean time, we have a good supply of 100 W Incandescent light bulbs on hand as well as a wide variety of incandescent bulbs that are not being phased out.

Bulb Phase-Out in Canada To Be Complete in 2014

Standard incandescent bulbs will be phased out in Canada in a one-two action that starts Jan. 1, 2014 with the elimination of the 100 and 75 watt bulbs and ends on Dec. 31, 2014 with the elimination of the 60 and 40 watt bulbs.

The regulations involving the phase-out are written by National Resources Canada (NRCan), part of Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency, which is mandated to strengthen and expand Canada’s commitment to energy efficiency.  After the phase-out dates, stocks of the existing bulbs can be sold, but bulbs can no longer be manufactured or shipped across provincial borders.

In Oct. of this year, NRCan proposed amending their minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) to permit high-efficacy halogen incandescent bulbs so that consumers would have a greater choice of energy-efficient products including bulbs that perform similarly to existing incandescent bulbs.  The MEPS were also adjusted slightly so that the same halogen-incandescent bulbs now being sold in the U.S. to comply with the 2007 Energy Independence Act (EISA) could also be sold in Canada.

According to NRCan, the harmonization of requirements would not only provide more lighting options to Canadians, but would also reduce regulatory compliance burdens and support the Canadian government’s policy of aligning with U.S. standards where feasible.  If the proposal is adopted, bulbs sold in Canada would have to meet the requirements found in the chart at the end of this article.  All bulbs must be rated for a [minimum] “service life” of 1,095 hours.

In 2011, the Canadian government postponed the bulb phase-out for two years due to confusion about the program and to allow further advances in bulb technology.  Concern about health effects, performance and the problems of disposal for mercury-containing CFLs were also listed as important reasons for the delay.  The province of British Columbia, which phased out the 100 and 75 watt bulbs on Jan. 1, 2011, decided to also implement the federal schedule and phase out the 60 and 40 watt bulbs on Dec. 31, 2014.

Canadian Incandescent Bulb Phaseout

Traditional Incandescent Bulb

Lumen Range


Effective Date




January 1, 2014




January 1, 2014




December 31, 2014




December 31, 2014

DOE Report Compares Environmental Impacts of LEDs, Incandescent and CFL

Sometimes, making good choices that reflect positively on our environment can be a struggle.  When there are so many factors to consider, how do we know which choices have the least negative impact?  There are positives and negatives to each of the most common light bulbs in the marketplace.  So how can we know if the best bulb choice is incandescent, compact fluorescent or LED? This report from the Illuminating Engineering Society can certainly shed some light on these questions:

DOE Report Compares Environmental Impacts of LEDs, Incandescent and CFL

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has published a report that looks at the direct and indirect material and process inputs to fabricate, ship operate and dispose of LED lamps, compared with incandescent lamps and CFLs.

Among the key findings of the report, entitled LED Manufacturing and Performance are:

  • Electricity consumption over an equivalent period of lighting service is far greater for the incandescent lamp and is the dominant contributor to environmental impacts.
  • Because of its low efficacy, the incandescent lamp is the most environmentally harmful of the three lamp types considered, across all 15 impact measures.
  • The CFL is slightly more harmful than the 2012 LED lamp (today’s LED technology) on all impact measures except hazardous waste landfill, where the LED lamp’s large aluminum heat sink causes greater impact because of the energy and resources consumed in manufacturing it (which produces significant waste disposed of in landfills).
  • The best-performing light source is the LED lamp projected for 2017, whose prospective impacts are expected to be about 50 percent lower than the 2012 LED lamp and 70 percent lower than the CFL.

The report is the second part of a larger DOE project to assess the life-cycle environmental impacts and resource costs of LED lighting products in relation to comparable traditional lighting technologies. It uses the conclusions of Part 1, Review of the Life-Cycle Energy Consumption of Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent, and LED Lamps, as a point of departure to produce a more detailed and conservative assessment of the manufacturing process and use it to compare the three lighting technologies, taking into consideration a wider range of environmental impacts. This report is the most comprehensive study of its kind for LED products, addressing both energy and environmental impacts, and is the first public report to consider the LED manufacturing process in depth. To download a PDF, go to www.ssl.energy.gov/tech_reports.html.

With three Lighting Specialists and a Certified Lighting Consultant on our team, we’ve got a wealth of information and experience to ensure that you make the best choices for your lighting project.  We invite you to call 866-542-3431 or email info@atlanticlightingstudio.com for guidance.

Until next time,
Chris, Mike, Mary and Deborah