Light bulb efficiency

As innovators go, Thomas Edison can be counted as one of the greatest: he developed many devices that have impacted life as we know it including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a commercially viable incandescent light bulb.  

Then as now, that kind of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit continues to generate new ideas and bring them to market: the phonograph has made way for the iPod; film has been digitized; and the incandescent light bulb has made way for the halogen bulb, LEDs and compact fluorescents (CFLs).

Innovation in lighting has prompted our federal and BC provincial government to work toward the standardization of more energy efficient lighting sources.  Canada is now one of 18 countries implementing minimum energy performance standards for light bulbs, along with Australia, Mexico and the United States.

If you have purchased a new appliance in recent years, you are probably familiar with the Energy Star rating system and know the cost savings that can be found in buying more efficient appliances. 

Now that standard is being applied to the light bulb.

Consumers will be able to choose from more energy efficient bulbs in various shapes and sizes, light outputs (brightness) and light appearances (colour temperatures). 

Despite these innovations however, the new regulatory standards for residential light bulbs have sparked some resistance, prompting a few constituents to protest “banning” the old fashioned incandescent.

I’ll admit some nostalgia kicked in for me: my uncle farmed on the Prairies and used light bulbs in the barn to keep the animals warm and prevent the ice from freezing in the feed trough; and I can remember those cold winter nights when we didn’t have a block heater and would place an incandescent light bulb under the hood of the car to keep the oil from freezing. 

Today’s reality though is that lighting accounts for approximately 10 percent of a home’s electricity use making energy-efficient bulbs desirable.

According to Carol Suhan at FortisBC, the new Energy Star light bulbs will last longer and result in up to 75 per cent energy savings.

Overall, the expected reduction in household energy use will provide a cumulative net benefit to Canadian consumers of more than $750 million by 2025.

And while efficient light bulbs cost a bit more to buy (not unusual when new products come on the market – think big screen TVs) their energy savings pay for any incremental purchase cost and more over their lifetime.

As for the new standards and the current availability of regular incandescent light bulbs, new standards for 75- and 100-watt replacement bulbs apply to bulbs manufactured on or after January 1, 2014. 

For 40- and 60-watt bulbs, the new standards apply to replacement bulbs manufactured on or after December 31, 2014.

These dates mean that although we will eventually see a change in the availability of this old technology, there will be inventory in distribution channels for a while. 

In fact, incandescent bulbs won’t disappear entirely: incandescent bulbs will still be available for applications including oven lights, decorative lamps, appliance bulbs, three-way fixtures, chandeliers and rough service/utility bulbs, as well as bulbs used in agriculture, industrial and heritage applications. 

A list of exemptions and more information on the improved standards can be found at www.nrcan.gc.ca, where you will also find information on the most energy efficient Energy Star products available on the market, from TVs to windows to appliances.

In order for manufacturers to use the Energy Star label they must have their product tested and proven to meet higher standards for lifetime and performance. 

For BC residents and businesses, more information on energy saving tips, rebates and how to recycle CFLs safely can be found at www.fortisbc.com/energysavinglighting

Experience tells us that innovative technology, with our support, can make life easier and better.  New light bulb technology is providing energy efficiency and cost savings for all of us.  No doubt Edison would be impressed with how far his innovation has come. 


The Honourable Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected].  Information on local announcements and federal government programs can be found at www.cannan.ca.

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About the Author

The Honourable Ron Cannan was first elected as Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country in January, 2006. He was subsequently elected in the 2008 and 2011 federal elections. He is a member of the Conservative Caucus.

On September 13th, 2012 Ron was summoned to be a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and will provide advice to the Government as a member of the Priorities and Planning Sub-Committee on Government Administration.

Ron successfully uses his experience and knowledge as a long-time Kelowna City Councillor and regional government representative to be an effective and enthusiastic champion for his riding and his constituents.

His greatest satisfaction comes from helping local organizations and citizens obtain the support they require from Ottawa. 

He is also dedicated to doing what it takes to ensure that the growing and vibrant communities in his riding continue to thrive and prosper.

He is proud of the partnership and cooperation between federal, provincial and municipal governments which have resulted in significant infrastructure projects including upgrades to Highway 97, expansion of the Kelowna International Airport, a new horticulture strategy for fruit growers, obtaining a full service passport office for Kelowna and addressing critical economic issues such as labour skills shortages.

He works closely with the local Chambers of Commerce and once a year arranges meetings for the Chamber with Cabinet Ministers and senior policy staff in Ottawa to move forward important local issues such as crime prevention and labour skills shortages.

He is also an ardent champion for important community initiatives including homelessness, mental health, women’s resources, and support of arts and culture.

On Parliament Hill, Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade since 2006 supporting initiatives which will broaden the economic opportunities for local businesses and businesses Canada-wide.

In previous parliamentary sessions Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee for Government Operations and Estimates, Veteran’s Affairs, Human Resources and Social Development, the Scrutiny of Regulations Committee, and the Standing Committee for Fisheries and Oceans.

Ron is also involved in a variety of inter-parliamentary organizations: he is Vice Chair of the Canada-US Inter-Parliamentary Group, and a member of the Canada-Taiwan Friendship group.

As Chair of the Conservative Wine Caucus, Ron works with his colleagues across the country to promote the wine regions of Canada.  Ron tabled Motion 218(formerly Motion 601) which supports direct to consumer purchasing of Canadian wine. His motion became Bill C-311, sponsored by MP Dan Albas, seconded by Ron, which was passed into law on June 28th, 2012.

Prior to entering politics, Ron developed a diverse business background as a small business owner and had several years experience in marketing and sales management working with corporations including Coca-Cola, Costco and Corus Entertainment.

Very active in his community, Ron has been a Director for both the Central Okanagan Regional District and the Central Okanagan Hospital Board. Ron also served on the Okanagan University College Access to Training Advisory Board, the Glenmore Elementary School Parents Advisory Council, and the Kelowna Christian School Fund Raising Committee. He was co-founder of the Okanagan Volunteer Festival. Currently Ron is a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Kelowna and, along with his wife Cindy, was the honorary Chair of the 2012 Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil Ball.

Ron lives a family-oriented and active lifestyle with his wife Cindy. He is the proud father of three daughters and grandfather to three grandsons. His hobbies include music and sports.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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