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Light bulb market shifting

As of the new year, manufacturers can no longer produce the traditional incandescent light bulb, but the light bulb transition may not stop at its immediate replacement, the compact fluorescent light bulb.

Ryan Philip, manager of Red Deer Lighting, thinks the future of light bulbs is with the light-emitting diode (LED) technology.

“I’m going to the CFLs, but those are probably changing in the future, too,” said Philip. “CFLs have been around for a while and they’re not the best light output. With LED coming out, you’re getting more control of your lighting again, better light output and less energy used still.”

What’s keeping LEDs back now is its upfront cost, according to Philip, but he says long term they will replace CFL. “LED works better in our climate,” said Philip.

“CFLs you can see flickering outside when it is -30.”

The bulb ban, passed seven years ago by the federal Conservative government because the bulbs are not efficient, finally goes into affect in the new year.

But both Philip, and Kent Sewell, branch manager of Nedco, said the market has been trending away from incandescent light bulbs for years.

“This has been going on for five or six years,” said Philip. “The government has been kind of delaying it, delaying it and delaying it and then finally our suppliers quit producing them. We’ve been struggling to find the old 60- or 100-watt bulbs.

“We just made a wholesale change two months ago. We have some in stock from previous orders, but we just show the new bulbs out there because you have to start training the consumer.” Sewell said the biggest effect the upcoming ban has had is it has changed what type of bulbs they buy and keep in stock.

Philip said another reason LEDs will replace CFLs is because of mercury in CFLs.

“Where do most people put them? In the garbage,” said Philip. “That’s the easiest way.”

The City of Red Deer’s landfill accepts both CFL and fluorescent tubes as part of its household hazardous waste program. Unbroken bulbs can be dropped off at the landfill during regular business hours.

Broken bulbs can’t be accepted.

They are put in a Bulbeater, which crushes the bulb while a vacuum pulls the mercury powder out of it. The powder is then captured in a filter while the glass and metal ends fall into a barrel.

By Jan. 1, 75- and 100-watt incandescent light bulbs will be eliminated, with the 40- and 60-watt bulbs being banned at the end of the year.



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