(CBS NEWS) -- At stores across the country,
traditional light bulbs are slowly fading out.
Starting Wednesday, the U.S. will
stop producing standard 40- and 60-watt incandescent bulbs, as the country works
to shrink its carbon footprint.
The cutback is part of a 2007 energy
efficiency law signed by former President George W. Bush which requires new
bulbs to meet tighter standards.
See Also: The changing shape of light
Seventy-five- and 100-watt bulbs are already
being phased out, which is a step forward, according to Kit Kennedy of the
National Resources Defense Council.
"The old fashioned incandescent
bulb actually wastes 90 percent of the energy it uses," Kennedy said. "Instead of
going to light, it goes to waste heat and that means there's a lot more power
plant pollution, and it also means that we pay more on our utility bills."
According to the federal
government, energy efficient bulbs like LEDs, halogens and compact fluorescents use about 25 to 80 percent less energy, and last up to 25 times longer.
While the new bulbs cost more at the
register, the department of energy estimates American homeowners will save
billions in the long run.
"I think it's the cheapest
thing you can implement as a homeowner that would drop your energy bill," said Dan
Hersch of the Department of Energy. "If they're using one-fourth the energy to produce the same amount of
light, that's significant savings."
Still, not everyone is ready to make
According to a recent survey, 30
percent of consumers plan to load up on incandescent bulbs while they are still
As the countdown began, Americans
were tweeting pictures of their stockpile.
One user wrote, "stocking up on 60 watt lightbulbs before prohibition. Where is the closest bulb speakeasy?"
For now, stores will be allowed to
continue selling traditional bulbs, at least while supplies last.
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