'Normal' Incandescent Lightbulbs to be Phased Out Next Year

Gather ye lightbulbs while ye may: Starting on Jan. 1, go-to 40- and 60-watt incandescent lightbulbs will be phased out, thanks to the last energy-saving measures of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act that go into effect in the New Year. Does this news surprise you? You're not alone: Forty percent of Americans are in the dark about the switch as well, according to the 2013 Osram Sylvania Socket Survey. (Yes, that's a report by the lighting giant that, um, measures lighting habits. A fascinating read.)

So what on earth are we all going to do? In typical American change-panicked fashion, 30 percent of respondents are going to be doing panicked hoard-y runs to Home Depot to snatch up their wattage before the incandescents are gone, guarding their energy-inefficient treasure like dragons.

On the other hand, those who aren't afraid of change (46 percent, to be precise) will be switching to the pricey-up-front-but-cheaper-in-the-long-run CFLs. (Though, let it be noted, that the heavenly deity of home stores, IKEA, will only be stocking LEDs by 2016, so don't say we didn't warn you about that lighting mess.) They're not terrible in terms of cost: An 18-pack of 13-watt bulbs (the equivalent of a 60-watt incandescent) will run about $25 at a midwestern Lowe's. On the other hand, LEDs, which are the most expensive up front (approximately $10 for one bulb of 60-watt equivalency) but carry the lowest operating cost in terms of longevity and efficiency, are turning on 24 percent of consumers. Thirteen percent will be opting for halogen bulbs, which run about $7 for one.

The Osram survey had some other gems: Fifty-nine percent of Americans — presumably everyone not in the hoarding category — claimed to be really excited about the incandescent lightbulb phase-out. But then again, some people are already on board... sort of:

And this is interesting: for the small number (30 percent) of respondents who claimed to own LEDs, only 11 percent of them own stand-alone LED bulbs meant to replace standard incandescents — a majority of these LEDS (55 percent) are in Christmas light form.

On the plus side, thanks to those CFLs, everyone's skin is going to be looking equally bad in bathroom lighting next year.