Europe’s ban on incandescent light bulbs goes into effect today in an attempt to enforce energy efficiency standards on lighting. As of today, retail stores are no longer allowed to purchase high wattage incandescent light bulbs to offer to customers. In fairness to shopowners, they are, however, allowed to continue to sell whatever they have in stock until supplies run out. While many hail this as a necessary restriction in order to advance efforts against climate change, others complain that the ban is an attack on personal preferences. We’re excited to see the change and look forward to when the US’s efficiency standards are elevated as well.

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Lighting upgrades are the low hanging fruits of energy efficiency, and just one of a series of measures being put into effect towards the E.U. goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020. As you may already know, CFLs use 75% less energy than traditional incandescents, and it is for exactly this reason that the ban was initially proposed.

The EU will serve as a testing ground for how the ban plays out as well as an example for other nations to take action. The United States is also planning on phasing out incandescent bulbs but not until 2012.

Today’s bleak economic climes may also help to spur along the preference of CFLs to incandescents as switching can save homeowners upwards of $50 over the life of the bulb and will likely pay for itself in energy savings in less than 6 months. Those who feel that CFLs have inferior light quality compared to a standard incandescent can feel better knowing that ambiance and color in CFLs are quickly improving.

via NYTimes