From September 1 this year, Ikea will only sell LED lightbulbs. Compact fluorescents and halogens are out, joining beautiful-but-energy-wasting incandescents on the banned list. According to Ikea’s figures, “U.S. customers have purchased 7.6 million LED bulbs, helping them collectively save nearly $3 billion in energy costs.”
LEDs are both efficient and long-lasting. What they weren’t, up until now at least, was cheap enough to be the only option in Ikea’s price-sensitive lineup. LEDs can keep going for as long as 20 years, all while using roughly one sixth the energy of a power-burning incandescent, but the upfront costs have always been expensive. But Ikea’s cheapest bulbs will be the 40 and 60-Watt (400 and 600 lumens) Ledare range, at $4.50 for a two-pack.
These budget bulbs aren’t dim-able though, so you may want to opt for one of the fancier models–it’s not like you’ll be replacing them any time soon.
The problems with LEDs are mostly solved. And by “problems” I mostly mean color. You can live with the long warmup times (also solved in modern bulbs), but if the light cast is cold and harsh, you’ll be tossing the bulb in the trash. Thankfully, warm LEDs are now the norm. And an LED is a lot more complex, materials and construction-wise, than a simple incandescent.
Ikea is in a great position to influence the whole market. Not only is this ban on non-LEDs worldwide, throughout its stores, but Ikea shifts enough stock to make a real difference. And where Ikea goes, others follow, even if it’s only to enjoy the lower costs brought about by the sudden leap in global manufacturing scale.
“If one million people changed one bulb each into an LED,” says IKEA U.S. president Lars Petersson, “this would be equivalent to taking 6,700 cars off the road or planting 17 million trees per year.” Ikea is also introducing many other sustainability measures both in its stores and through its donations, which you can read about here.