As many of you already know, the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) will result in some incandescent bulbs no longer being manufactured. The end result of this is that many standard A-shape incandescent bulbs will no longer be available in certain wattages.
When it’s time to replace the incandescent bulbs you have, you have a few different options: The two primary choices people seem to have been making are to stockpile as many incandescent bulbs as possible, or to switch to a more efficient technology. Many of our customers are moving to compact fluorescent and LED bulbs, and there are a number of great reasons to do so. However, if you are one of the people who has reasons to hold steadfastly to the traditional incandescent, allow us to introduce another option you may not be aware of- the halogen incandescent.
Halogen incandescent bulbs, such as the Philips EcoVantage line, are designed to closely mimic the light quality and output of a traditional incandescent bulb while meeting the new efficiency standards put into place by EISA. Out of the package, these bulbs look just like a regular incandescent bulb, but actually have a halogen capsule inside that generates the light. Unlike CFL or LED bulbs, this is light generated by a filament source, just like in a traditional incandescent. Rated life is 1,000 hours, which is about the same as most incandescent bulbs. They are also fully dimmable and instant on and off. The bulb is offered in a variety of wattages and in three different finishes: Clear, soft white, and natural white. If you like a really warm yellowish light, we recommend the soft white option. If you like something a bit whiter and more representative of sunlight, we recommend the natural light option.
Where they differ from traditional incandescent is in one very important sense- efficiency. It’s not a token difference either. While a 28% reduction in energy usage does not approach the savings provided by CFLs or LEDs, it is a substantial reduction nonetheless.
We’ve done some testing to see how the EcoVantage line matches up against a traditional incandescent, and we’ve been very pleased with the results. The unrestricted dimming is there, and the warm white light is definitely there as well. One minor thing to note is that the halogen capsule has thicker glass on each side, which does cast a bit of a shadow if you’re using the bulb under a lampshade. It’s most noticeable with the clear bulb. We didn’t find it to be a major issue, but it’s something to be aware of.
Here’s a video we produced showing a brief overview of the EcoVantage products that shows a comparison with a traditional incandescent that you may find informative.
Bottom line- If your primary motivation is energy savings or rated life, it still makes more sense to switch to a newer technology such as CFL or LED. However, if it’s really important to you to find the EISA-compliant bulb that most closely resembles a traditional incandescent, a halogen incandescent like the Philips EcoVantage is something you should seriously consider.