Incandescent light bulb - WikipediaThe New York Times, this morning, has an eye-opening article about the “new” incandescent bulbs coming on the market. For anyone who is still using incandescents because they don’t like the cold light, mercury content or shape of CFLs and aren’t quite ready to make a major investment in LED light bulbs, this is good news.

The new, tough energy law which goes into effect in 2012 had many observers predicting the death of the incandescent bulb. But researchers across the US have made “…more innovations with the incandescent bulb in the last 3 years than in the last 2 decades,” according to Chris Calwell, with Ecos Consulting, researchers in energy use and policy.

Philips Lighting offers the first of these new bulbs for the market called Halogena Energy Savers, While they are more expensive than older incandescents at $5 apiece and more, a spokesman at Philips reports that they last 3 times longer so you will recoup your costs. Additionally, a 70 watt Halogena Energy Saver bulb compares with a 100 watt older bulb.

But they are also 30 percent more efficient than older bulbs. Philips says that a 70-watt Halogena Energy Saver gives off the same amount of light as a traditional 100-watt bulb and lasts about three times as long, eventually paying for itself.

You can find these new incandescents at Home Depot or on Amazon. While they’re not as energy efficient as CFLs yet, they are boasting a 30% energy efficiency over traditional incandescents. In the lab they’re reaching 50% and research continues at a breakneck speed.

So, no need yet to give up all hope of soft white light or the ability to dim your lights. If anything is certain, it’s that research will continue on all bulb types. I’m sure the best is yet to come, but this is a promising start. And it looks like someone will need to update Wikipedia’s entry on the incandescent bulb, although I’m certain that the old style incandescent we’re all so familiar with will go the way of the dinosaur.