The end of incandescent light bulbs

New standards for light certain classes and wattages of light bulbs will take effect in 2014.

It is rare that I re-submit a previously completed report however in this case with the upcoming Jan. 1, 2014 deadline for certain classes and wattages of incandescent light bulbs much of this information has been requested.

With the start of the New Year in 2014 will be changes to Canada’s national lighting standards that in turn will impact some of the light bulbs that will be available for sale.

The new standards establish energy efficiency levels for light bulbs sold in Canada that also calls for less energy efficient incandescent bulbs in certain wattages to be phased out.

Specifically the standards will apply for bulbs in the 75- and 100-watt range after Jan. 1, 2014, and bulbs in the 40- 60-watt range on or after Dec. 31, 2014.

Once the new standards are in place consumers will have energy efficient lighting choices that include light emitting diodes (LEDs), compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and with the most recent amendment incandescent halogen bulbs.

It should also be noted that not all light bulbs currently on the market will be affected by these changes – for example decorative lamps and related light bulbs, appliance bulbs, three-way fixtures, chandeliers, rough service/utility bulbs, oven lamps as well as specialty bulbs for agriculture and industrial applications will all be exempt from these new regulations.

Why introduce these light bulb energy efficiency standards?

There are a number of reasons for these changes.

Currently lighting (on average) accounts for roughly 10 per cent of household energy use.

By using more energy efficient light bulbs nationally the cumulative energy savings are estimated at more than $750 million by 2025 with corresponding greenhouse gas emission reductions by up to 7.5 mega-tonnes over the same time frame.

At the same time, these regulations also parallel the same standards being introduced in the United States.

Having the same lighting standards across North America will also benefit those in the lighting and electrical sectors including manufacturers, wholesalers and importers.

Canada is one of eighteen countries currently in the process of implementing minimum standards in light bulb energy efficiency.

In my view it is also important that citizens be aware that while CFL bulbs offer high energy efficiency and long life they also  contain a small amount of mercury, roughly enough to cover the tip of a ball point pen.

Although no special handling is required in the use of these bulbs in the event a CFL bulb breaks Health Canada does have recommendations on best practices for clean up.

Some of the recommendations include allowing the room to ventilate for 15 minutes prior to entry, and to use gloves when picking up the glass and sticky tape for loose pieces. Using a vacuum or broom is not recommended as this can spread the dust to other areas of your home.

For more information on CFL bulbs and disposal of broken CFL bulbs the Health Canada website has some helpful information, please goto: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/prod/cfl-afc-eng.php

The intent of this week’s report is to help eliminate confusion on Canada’s minimum energy efficiency light standards given many recent questions on this topic.

If you have further question on this or any topic please do not hesitate to contact my office at  via email at dan.albas@parl.gc.ca or via phone at 1-800-665-8711.

Before I close this week’s report, I would like to take a moment to wish all citizens a safe and enjoyable holiday season along with best wishes for the New Year.

As many of may have an opportunity to be away from work over the holiday’s if you do have a comment or concern please do not hesitate to send it my way at your convenience.

Dan Albas is the MP for Okanagan Coquihalla.