25-year-old Kevin Szmyd has a collection of 3,500 lightbulbs, which he says will last a lifetime.
In August, incandescent bulbs were largely banned in the US and can no longer be sold or made.
The Energy Department says the change will reduce utility bills and carbon emissions.
Ahead of the ban, Kevin Szmyd spent $1,700 on a lifetime supply of incandescent bulbs, about 3,500.
Incandescent light bulbs are essentially now banned in the US, but 25-year-old software developer Kevin Szmyd isn’t planning to make the switch to the more energy-efficient LEDs anytime soon.
Ahead of new regulations going into effect, Szmyd built up a collection of about 3,500 of the light bulbs.
On August 1, the manufacture and sale of incandescent light bulbs was effectively banned in the US. The new guidelines originated during Obama’s presidency but were rejected by the Trump administration. Now, under the Biden administration, the near-total ban has gone into effect. However, those who already have the bulbs will be able to keep them.
Szmyd is a member of a Facebook group called “Antique incandescent lamp/light bulb collectors,” which has been active long before the ban went into effect. The group is for bulb enthusiasts, with members sharing updates on their collections, helping others identify specific bulb models, and answering questions people have about light bulbs. Chad Shapiro, the group’s administrator, said in a Facebook post that the group mostly focuses on vintage lightbulbs manufactured before the 1940s.
Kevin Szmyd estimated his collection of incandescent lightbulbs to be around 3,500.
The new rules only allow light bulbs that meet a certain level of efficiency. And since most incandescent bulbs don’t meet those standards, they are now basically banned from being made or sold in stores.
Some people, including Szmyd, believe that the government is overreaching by effectively taking certain light bulbs off the market.
“I don’t think that the government should be involved with making the customer make a decision,” Szmyd told Insider, “I think it’s a little silly for a government to go in and say, ‘we don’t think you’re going to make the best decision with buying light bulbs. So we’re going to prevent you from making the wrong decision.'”
Szmyd said he’d rather see a push toward nuclear power, instead.
Szmyd said he probably contacted every person selling lightbulbs within 250 miles ahead of sweeping restrictions.
He saved two weeks of pay in order to fund his collection worth around $1,700, he told Insider, seeking out bulbs on places like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and eBay.
“I think I must have contacted everyone who sells light bulbs within 250 miles of me,” Szmyd said.
He’s not the only one who decided to stock up on incandescent bulbs. Kathleen Parker, a Washington Post columnist, said she purchased 200 bulbs because she enjoyed the “warm, pink glow” that the incandescent give off compared to LED bulbs.
The new regulations are estimated to save Americans $3 billion a year, according to the Department of Energy. Because LED bulbs are more efficient, nudging consumers into adopting them more widely will lead to cheaper utility bills while also being better for the environment, the department said — estimating that by 2053, carbon emissions will be slashed by 222 million metric tons as a result of the new guidelines.
Though LED bulbs may cost more upfront, they last 25 to 50 times longer than incandescent, meaning that buyers will save money in the long run.
But Szmyd said that avoiding the white-blue hue of the LEDs in favor of the “nice color” of the old-school bulbs was worth devoting an entire paycheck to acquire the stockpile, which won’t be running out anytime soon.
“I consider it a lifetime supply,” he told Insider. “I would say I did the math. I have a bunch of spreadsheets with all of the lighting fixtures in my house. And I have almost exactly the amount of bulbs I’m going to need for the next 75 years.”