The 2007 law forces manufacturers to improve the energy efficiency of ordinary bulbs dramatically: 40W bulbs must draw just 10.5W, and 60W bulbs 11W, and incandescents simply can’t do that.
‘You’d be shocked how many people still want incandescents.’
- Larry Birnbaum, CEO of Newcandescent
But there are a variety of exceptions to that law for specialty lighting, including bulbs with unusual bases, others meant for special display purposes, and rough service bulbs. In 2010 Birnbaum applied for a permit to build them under the new specifications: Per the government, his bulbs needed seven filaments rather than two, a brass base, and 1 millimeter thicker glass, and the bulbs had to be filled with a special mixture of argon and krypton to improve their lifespan.
“They made it very difficult for everybody. I had to do three different samples at three different times until we finally got the approval, they were so critical,” he said. “I don’t blame them.”
His bulbs, called Newcandescents, began shipping in 2010 — made in America, at a plant outside of Indianapolis by around two dozen employees.
These are a bit pricier than the old ones, but they offer a life of 10,000 hours, about the claimed mid-range for compact fluorescent bulbs (I say “claimed,” because mine never seem to last anywhere near that long). These spec out to about three bucks a bulb, which, again, puts them in CFL range.
Yes, you can buy them at Amazon by the dozen-pack: