Green

Ikea's war on Edison's light bulb

Ikea has declared war on the incandescent light bulb.

OK, maybe it’s not so much a war than a flat-out refusal to engage. At any rate, the mass furniture and household goods retailer — not to mention purveyor of Swedish meatballs — announced today that it will no longer stock or sell traditional light bulbs, making good on a plan to phase out the bulbs announced last year. Instead, it will offer light bulbs that are more efficient and last longer than the Edison bulb, like compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs; 80 percent more efficient), LED lamps (70 percent more efficient), halogen lamps and even a line of lamps that are solar-powered (pictured).

It’s a sign of good times for the LED and energy-efficient lighting sector, which is poised to boom this year. Lighting has become an increasing focus among cleantech startups, many of which make smart lighting systems (some LED-based, others that make use of networking and sensors) that yield energy savings by automatically dimming and shutting off lights. And Ikea has shown a lot of interest in carrying LED light bulbs, according to sources cited by Greentech Media.

But as a trendy European company that sells bookshelves and patterned couch cushions that are a staple of the trendy, young and cash-strapped, it’s not really a surprise that Ikea is going green. It’d be a mark of a more fundamental shift if one of the broader-market big box retailers with a huge supply chain like Wal-Mart or Target decided to stop carrying incandescents.

An interesting side note, though, in the company’s release and noted by CleanTechnica: The company says its move is partly a reaction to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The what? You don’t know? Well, neither does anyone else.

The legislation mandates that light bulbs for general use become 30 percent more efficient by 2012 to 2014, placing a set of standards that some have argued will effectively ban the incandescent light bulb in favor of CFLs and other energy-efficient lights. A survey Ikea commissioned in December through Harris Interactive found that 61 percent of Americans were not aware of the legislation. The number jumped to 84 percent in the 18 to 24-year-old crowd.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they cared about energy-saving lights,with more than half — 56 percent — ready to make the switch. Nearly 80 percent said they believed the switch would help them save money (Ikea attributes 25 percent of American households’ electricity bills to lighting costs).

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