H-CENTRAL COAST

Mar 3, 2011 10:26 PM by Ariel Wesler

California getting rid of 100 watt light bulbs

California is the first state in the nation to begin phasing out standard 100 watt light bulbs in favor of more energy efficient ones.

The new rules are part of a nationwide effort to become more environmentally friendly. New incandescent bulbs use less energy, but burn just as brightly. The state estimates the switch will save consumers more than $35 million dollars on their electric bills this year.

100-watt light bulbs will soon be disappearing from store shelves. They're slowly being replaced by their eco-friendly counterparts. The new bulbs only use 72 watts, but give off as much light as a standard 100 watt bulb.

"It's able to use less energy but still get the same amount of light because of the intensity of the halogen," said Justin Sears, who works in Home Depot's lighting department.

"I think it's a good idea in general. Certainly energy efficiency should be a foremost concern for all consumers," said Charles Nickerson of Los Osos.

The new bulbs are different from the spiral compact florescent bulbs, or CFLs that have become popular and are best sellers at the Home Depot in San Luis Obispo. The incandescent bulbs do not contain mercury, which some say makes them safer alternatives.

"If you break them, that mercury can get released into the immediate environment around you," Nickerson said.

"People shouldn't be scared. It's very minimal," Sears said.

We decided to compare the old light bulbs to the new incandescent ones. You can see they both give off the same amount of light, except the newer one uses a third less energy and lasts three times as long, saving you money.

They'll cost you about a dollar or two more upfront and some people prefer the old-style, despite the energy savings.

"They do not seem like they produce the light that we should have in the first place," said Marlene Starr of Oceano. "I'll buy the older ones as long as I can."

Stores can still sell 100 watt bulb manufacutured before January 1 of this year, but it's not the only one getting eliminated. California started with least energy efficient. Over the next three years, the state will phase out the standard 75, 60, and 40 watt bulbs.

The entire country will adopt the new standards starting January 1, 2012.

The regulations do not affect a variety of speciality incandescent bulbs, including three-way, colored, bug lights, and heavy-duty bulbs.

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