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Phase-Out of Inefficient Light Bulbs

The Standard for Efficient Light Bulbs

The Standard for Efficient Light Bulbs

What is the phase-out of inefficient light bulbs?

The standard is designed to remove an inefficient 100-year-old technology from the marketplace while ensuring that viable, cost-effective and environmentally-sensitive lighting technologies of all types are available for use by Canadians in a wide variety of applications.

The regulation sets a minimum performance level for bulbs imported into Canada or sold inter-provincially and will essentially phase out inefficient incandescent bulbs that range from 40 watts to 100 watts.

What legislation pertains to the phase out?

The Energy Efficiency Regulations are authorized by the Energy Efficiency Act originally passed in 1992. The standard for general service lamps is contained in an amendment to the Regulations, first published in December 2008, and amended and published in November 2011.

When will the phase-out of inefficient light bulbs come into effect?

The bulbs with a higher wattage, such as the 75 and 100 watt, will be subject to the regulation on January 1, 2014. For the lower wattage bulbs such as the 40 and 60 watts, the regulation takes effect on December 31, 2014. These effective dates apply to date of manufacture.

To which products does the federal standard for general service lamps apply?

The federal standard applies to products being imported into Canada and to products being shipped from one province to another for sale or lease. Products manufactured on or after the effective dates will be subject to the standard.

More specifically, the standard applies to general service lamps (light bulbs) that are screw based, have a voltage between 100 and 130 volts, and have a luminous flux between 250 lumens and 2600 lumens (Note: equivalent wattages covered are the 40, 60, 75 and 100 watt lamps).

Modified spectrum lamps are also included in this regulation and are required to have at least 75% of the efficacy level of a reference standard spectrum lamp.

There are exemptions to the regulation for specialty lamps (light bulbs), for appliances, for 3-way fixtures, for chandeliers and others.

Which lamps (light bulbs) are excluded from the standard?

The following lamps are exempted from the standard:

  • an appliance lamp;
  • an integrally ballasted CFL;
    (Note: already meets high efficiency performance standards)
  • a coloured lamp;
  • an explosion-resistant lamp;
  • an infrared lamp;
  • a left-hand screw-based lamp;
  • a plant lamp;
  • a showcase lamp that has a T-shape and a maximum wattage of 40 W or a length exceeding 25 cm and is marketed as a showcase lamp;
  • a sign service lamp;
  • a silver bowl lamp;
  • a lamp using solid state technology;
    (Note: already meets high efficiency performance standards)
  • a lamp that has a G-shape and a diameter of 13 cm or more;
  • a submersible lamp;
  • a traffic signal module, pedestrian module and street light;
  • a lamp having an Edison screw-base size of E5, E10, E11, E12, E17, E26d (three way lamps), E26/50×39, E26/53×39, E29/28, E29/53×39, E39, E39d, EP39 or EX39;
  • a lamp that has a B, BA, CA, F, G16-1/2, G25, G30, s or M-14 shape or other similar shape, and a maximum wattage of 40 W;
    (Note: the A-shape lamp is the main focus of this regulation)
  • a rough service lamp;
  • a vibration service lamp; and
  • an incandescent reflector lamp.
    (Note: this lamp category is already regulated)

Why is Canada phasing out inefficient lighting?

The standard for efficient light bulbs is part of the Government of Canada’s effort to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Why was the standard delayed for two years from when it was originally scheduled to come into effect?

The delay will allow for innovations in the technology, and for consumers to familiarize themselves with the various options currently available to them. It will also provide governments the opportunity to put in place an extended producer responsibility regulation that will require manufacturers and importers to establish recycling programs for mercury-containing bulbs across Canada.

Why can the federal government delay the standard while provincial governments can move ahead?

Both levels of government, federal and provincial, have laws under which they can regulate products. The Energy Efficiency Act is the law under which the federal government can establish regulations to prohibit the manufacture, import and sales of inefficient products. Some provinces (BC, MB, ON, QC, NB and NS) have the same authority to regulate products and their energy efficient legislation is independent from the federal legislation.

What is happening in other countries?

Standards for efficient lighting are coming into effect across the world at different times. They have been in place in Europe and Australia since 2009. Standards for higher wattages came into effect in California and British Columbia on January 1, 2011. U.S. federal standards for higher wattages come into effect January 1, 2012 and roll into 2014.


Which light bulbs will be available in 2014?

Canada’s standard is a performance or technology neutral standard. It does not prescribe any particular light source technology and is set at a level that ensures that a wide array of choices will be available to Canadians once it comes into effect. Consumers can choose from a variety of technologies, such as LED, fluorescent, halogen infrared and enhanced incandescent, in various shapes and sizes, light outputs (brightness) and light appearances (colour temperatures).

Compact fluorescents are one type of lighting technology that is widely used. Infrared halogens, which are more efficient than the standard incandescent bulbs and meet the performance standard, are now available in stores. We expect other technologies that have entered the market, such as light emitting diodes (LED), to be more prevalent by 2014.

Where can I find alternative products?

Retailers that currently carry lighting products should continue to offer you different options for your fixtures.

Will I have to change my current fixtures in order to use the new light bulbs?

No, you will be able to find different types of efficient bulbs to fit your fixtures, from ceiling units to standing lamps. It is very important to read the packaging information which will indicate if you cannot use it in specific applications such as enclosed fixtures.

And, you will have the opportunity to reduce your energy costs even further by using ENERGY STAR qualified light fixtures.

Will the lighting industry be able to provide alternative bulbs?

Yes. The lighting industry has been aware of the regulation since it was announced in April 2007. The market has significantly shifted to more efficient lighting sources – CFLs come in all types, sizes and light outputs; holiday lights, exit signs and traffic signals are almost exclusively LED type lamps and halogen are available for applications where the properties of an incandescent bulb are required.

How will I know that I have chosen the right bulb for the light output (brightness) I need?

It is a common misconception to think of ‘watts’ as a measure of light output. Watts (W) actually measure the electricity used by a light bulb to produce a certain amount of light. Light output is measured in lumens (lm).

Comparisons based on wattage can be misleading because light bulbs can produce the same lumens using very different watts. Measuring the performance of a light bulb in lumens allows direct comparisons of light quantity, which is one of the essential things one needs to know about the lamp.

A helpful tip to guide you in the selection of the bulb you will buy is to remember that a traditional 60 watt incandescent emits approximately 800 lumens.

Use this chart to find the bulb that will suit your needs. And look for ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs as they are a guarantee of superior quality and greater energy savings.

  Energy Efficient Alternatives
Phase-Out Bulb Power Usage
Light Output
100W Incandescent ~ 70W Halogen IR
~ 23W CFL
~ 1,600 lm
75W Incandescent ~ 54W Halogen IR
~ 20W CFL
~ 17W LED
~ 1,100 lm
60W Incandescent ~ 40W Halogen IR
~ 15W CFL
~ 12.5W LED
~ 800 lm
40W Incandescent ~ 28W Halogen IR
~ 10W CFL
~ 8W LED
~ 450 lm

Given their higher purchase price, how can Canadians afford energy efficient bulbs?

Lighting accounts for up to 11% of a home’s electricity use, so replacing old incandescent bulbs with new efficient ones can make a big difference. Energy efficient bulbs last longer and use less electricity than incandescent bulbs to produce the same amount of light. Even though they cost a bit more to buy, consumers will pay for themselves many times over through energy savings over the lifetime of the bulb, especially if their purchase price continues to decline.

For example, if one considers the cost of energy and the cost of replacement, CFLs remain the cheapest source of lighting on the market today, even with a higher initial cost than incandescent bulbs. CFLs can be found in multi-packs for as little as $2 each.

No one will be expected to replace every inefficient bulb in their home or business at the same time. Consumers will be encouraged to simply install more efficient bulbs as their old, inefficient ones burn out.


Will the phase-out of inefficient light bulbs eliminate jobs for Canadians?

The manufacture of incandescent bulbs in Canada ceased in 1990. The Canadian lighting industry has been significantly involved in the development of new technology options and is expected to continue to play a major role in further development.

Will the phase-out of inefficient lighting affect people with health concerns?

No, in phasing out inefficient lamps from the market, the Government of Canada considered the economic, safety, environmental and health needs of Canadians and ensured that consumers will have choices available to meet specific needs and requirements.

What kind of emission reduction will be achieved?

The environmental benefits of energy efficient lighting are impressive. It is estimated that the lighting efficiency standards could help Canadians reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the residential and commercial sectors by more than six million tonnes a year, equivalent to taking 1.4 million vehicles off the road.

How much can Canadians expect to save by switching to high-efficiency light bulbs?

It is expected that consumers could save around $60 per year on their electricity bills. In residential lighting alone, replacing conventional incandescent bulbs with ENERGY STAR qualified fluorescent or LED bulbs could save Canadians almost $600 million a year on their electricity bills.

Will heating costs increase if I switch to efficient light bulbs?

Studies from the National Research Council and utilities have determined that there are financial and environmental benefits to heating your home using heating equipment rather than using heat emitted from inefficient incandescent bulbs. Furthermore, in summer months, inefficient incandescent bulbs force your cooling system to use more energy which will increase your electricity costs.

Will the phase-out affect people with small-scale poultry operations?

The standard provides for exemptions for lighting requirements for which efficient alternatives are not available. In the case of small-scale poultry operations, rough service bulbs are exempted and could be used for this application.