Rejoice, all ye haters of a fluorescent future. The same legislation that sparked widespread adoption of CFL lighting in favor of the comparatively inefficient incandescent bulb may have had an unexpected result: the first significant efficiency improvements in century-old incandescents in decades.
Many predicted extinction for Edison's light bulb after Congress passed an energy law two years ago which set a 2012 deadline for increased lighting efficiency standards. But a number of companies are rushing to bring the turn-of-the-century technology up to the tougher regulations.
Philips Lighting created the first products of this new wave, the Halogena Energy Savers, which sell for $5 or more compared to 25 cents for traditional bulbs. But they end up more than paying for themselves with 30 percent more energy efficiency and three times the lifespan of a traditional bulb.
The secret behind the efficiency boost lies in special reflective coatings which bounce waste heat back to the filament, where the heat gets transformed into light. A company called Deposition Sciences has been perfecting the technology, and says that it achieved up to 50 percent energy gains in the lab, as reported in the New York Times.
All three big lighting companies, including Philips, General Electric and Osram Sylvania, are looking into further developing such reflective coatings for incandescent bulbs. They join a swarm of researchers and private inventors who have also been racing to improve incandescent light efficiency.
By comparison, fluorescent light bulbs can use up to 75 percent less energy that traditional light bulbs, but consumers have been slow to adopt them while incandescent bulbs remain cheap–-90 percent of American homes still use the old bulbs. Some people also object to fluorescent lighting's appearance, as well as its mercury content and slow start-up time.
Then there's the third lighting option of the future, and perhaps the favored geek choice--light-emitting diodes (LEDs). But the high price tag and performance issues mean that LEDs likely won't displace incandescent or fluorescent bulbs anytime soon.
So despite some countries such as Ireland essentially banning incandescent light bulbs, American consumers can rest assured that Edison's bulb won't go quietly into the night.
In the interest of clarity, can we have a comparison chart showing the efficiency ratings of the various types of lighting?
The CFLs need a little work too. It's recommended that you leave them on because their startup circuits are more complex and failure prone.
Most also state that they should NOT be used with timers or other on/off devices such as motion sensors.
They seem a little frail for applications such as gooseneck lamps that are prone to tipping. Not good with the mercury problem.
And, of course, very few CFLs are rated for dimmers. The ones that I tried dim by fits and starts.
As for the LEDs, I tried one ( a mere $6.00). It projected a small area of somewhat bright light -- and quickly failed. Not surprising, since the LEDs were in series.
Not against the new tech, but I think that the Edison bulb definitely has some applications. Efficiency sometimes need to bow to practicality.
But of course it doesn't justify banning ordinary light bulbs:
As you say, Americans choose to buy ordinary light bulbs around 9 times out of 10.
Banning what Americans <b>want</b> gives the supposed <b>savings</b> - no point in banning an impopular product!
<b>If new LED lights -or improved incandescents- are good</b>,
people will buy them - no need to ban ordinary light bulbs (little point).
If they are not good, people will not buy them - no need to ban ordinary light bulbs (no point).
The arrival of the transistor didn't mean that more energy using radio tubes had to be banned... they were bought less anyway.
<b>All lights have their advantages.</b>
The ordinary simple light bulb has for many people a pleasing appearance, it responds quickly with bright broad spectrum light, is easy to use with dimmers and other equipment, can come in small sizes, and has safely been used for over 100 years.
<b>100 W+ equivalent brightness</b> is a particular issue - difficult and expensive with both fluorescents and LEDS - yet such incandescent bulbs are apparently first in line for banning (as in the EU)!
There are also problems in achieving <b>small size bright bulbs</b> with fluorescents and LEDS, while halogens, related to ordinary bulbs -like the Philips type you mention- are only slightly more efficient, and will gradually be phased out too given the proposed efficiency limits.
In any case:
<b>Since when does America need to save on electricity?</b>
There is no energy shortage, there are plenty of local energy sources, Middle East oil is not used for electricity generation.
Consumers pay for any power stations, just as they do for factories and shops generally.
Certainly it is good to let people know how they can save energy and money - but <b>why force</b> them to do it?
Anyone say <b>emissions</b>?
OK: <b>Does your light bulb give out any gases?</b>
Power stations might not either:
In Washington state practically all electricity is emission-free, while around half of it is in states like New York and California.
Why should emission-free Seattle, New York and Los Angeles households there be denied the use of lighting they obviously want to use?
Low emission households will increase everywhere, since emissions will be reduced anyway through the planned use of coal/gas processing technology or energy substitution.
Again, the savings - and their value - can be questioned.
For a referenced list of reasons against light bulb bans, see
Ford2go, not sure where you purchased the crap LED's that you have. But trust me when I tell you there is a bunch of Crap out there. I sell commercial grade LED lighting. Can take a 45Watt Incandescent PAR20 down to just 3 watts and produce more light. I also carry Dimmable products which dim to a level that would likely not be useful, so no need to dim any lower.
Sorry if I am getting defensive, but it is upsetting to me when I see these crap bulbs forming the general opinion of LED lighting.
For complete information on my products, go to www.greatlakesled.com. all product info is listed along with pricing which is delivered to the door. Unfotunatly I do not have on line ordering or the ability to accept credit cards.
Thank goodness for those people who have the foresight to reinvent the incandescent bulb. They are actually a fashion item in many modern and trendy home around the western world. We have not covered them with shades rather included a dimmer for mood. They look fanstastic. Bring back the single drop incandescent into our living rooms. Please!