The Incandescent Bulb Phase Out
You can relax, the majority of incandescent light bulbs aren't going away anytime soon. However, starting January 1, 2012, you will no longer be able to purchase a traditional 100W incandescent bulb. The products currently being touted as replacement candidates are the 72W halogen or the 23W CFL bulb, with no mention of an LED bulb being capable of doing the job. The reason being is, that from an LED lighting perspective, the incandescent bulb ban is occurring in the wrong direction. You see, higher wattage bulbs are being phased out first with lower wattage bulbs being phased out in the years to come. While most industry experts agree that LED lighting is the technology that will ultimately win the lighting war, the efficacy of LED bulbs (think light output per watt) increases from the bottom up. Currently there are several worth LED bulb candidates for replacing a 60W incandescent bulb, which happens to be the most commonly used light bulb in the United States, and 75W equivalent LED bulbs are coming right around the corner with 100W equivalents on the drawing boards.
So the question in our minds becomes, "Why phase out higher wattage incandescent bulbs first when there aren't as many being used and the lighting technology the Department of Energy is pushing doesn't have a horse in the race yet?" Why not phase out the 60W incandescent bulb first? The overall amount of energy saved would most likely be far greater than the amount saved by phasing out the 100W bulb, and at the same time it's a bulb with viable LED replacements already on the market.
The answer is that it may have something to do with replacement costs. LED bulbs are currently more expensive than the halogen or CFL alternatives being offered up, but the longer life, lower energy usage and superior light quality of LED bulbs would still make them the first choice for many consumers shopping for energy efficient lighting.
As it stands, the 75W incandescent bulb will be phased out at the beginning of 2013 and the 60W bulb follows a year later in 2014. In addition, certain reflector bulbs will start to be phased out in July of 2012. Some people have decided to try and stock pile the old bulbs.