The winter holidays are just around the corner!
Home Depot and Philips have announced that an LED replacement bulb for the standard 60-watt incandescent will be available in stores starting in December 2010. Read a review of the product here.
New federal efficiency standards will phase out the homely incandescent during 2012 – 2014. (The phase-out is going on world-wide.) The U.S. Department of Energy has been working furiously with lighting manufacturers to develop a high-quality replacement bulb to avoid the consumer disappointment that squirreled-up the introduction of CFL bulbs.
Lower-quality LED’s can be purchased now. However, consumers are best advised to keep their cash in their pockets until the DOE-approved bulbs hit the shelves.
The Maryland Energy Administration has awarded $600,000 to a company developing energy-efficient, solid-state lighting.
“This award will not only benefit TDI and Maryland, but also better position the USA to compete in the global solid-state lighting market,” believes TDI’s president Bernard Scanlan. “Governor O’Malley and his team are working to create jobs by putting Maryland on the road to benefit from emerging technologies that will create jobs, cut taxpayers’ electricity bills, and reduce US dependence on foreign oil,” he adds.
Later this year, homeowners should be able to purchase DOE-certified LED (light-emitting diode) replacements for the 60-watt bulb.
In the meantime, commercial applications continue to grow. The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, Florida, recently completed a multi-miilion-dollar renovation that included installation of LED lighting in hallways and lobby that are lit 24/7. Each 10-watt LED fixture replaced two 50-watt halogen bulbs, for a 90 percent energy savings. The hotel expects to recover the cost of the lamps in nine months and realize savings of half a million dollars in four years.
An added attraction for business is the long lifetime of LEDs which reduces maintenance costs. The expense of paying someone to replace burned out bulbs exceeds the cost of electricity for conventional lighting. Because homeowners change their own bulbs, they lack this incentive. This fact increases the importance of the DOE “L-Prize” which will give homeowners more confidence as they contemplate the switch to LED lighting.
The L-Prize will be awarded to LED lamps that replace the standard 60W lightbulb — if they can pass the U.S. Department of Energy’s rigorous tests.
What’s at stake?
The solid-state lighting LED bulb will use only 10 watts. If all 971 million 60W bulbs currently use were replaced, the DOE estimates that:
the country would save approximately 34.0 Terawatt-hours of electricity in one year, and avoid 5.6 million metric tons of carbon emissions. That’s enough electricity to power the lights of 17.4 million U.S. households, or nearly twice the annual electricity consumption of the city of Las Vegas.
What’s happening now?
The DOE received one entry from Philips last year — it’s being tested now. More entrants are expected.
When can I get one?
DOE hopes to announce at least one winner by the end of this year.
Why is DOE doing this?
The idea is to avoid the mass confusion of consumers that happened with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). Sure CFLs save energy but light quality and longevity have been mixed (and what about that mercury?) The L-Prize winner will meet tough standards for light quality, durability and energy usage so that consumers can pay the premium price with confidence. This should result in faster take up and bigger energy savings.
How can I learn more?
The DOE has a website devoted to the L Prize. DOE has a host of programs related to solid-state lighting which has many applications beyond the standard light bulb: outdoor lighting, for example. DOE has launched the Municipal Solid-State Street Lighting Consortium to help localities find the right products to meet their needs. One challenge is finding financing mechanisms that will use the lower power and maintenance costs to offset the higher initial cost.
By developing standards and sharing information, the DOE hopes to reduce risk for businesses, governments and households in order to speed up deployment of this important new energy-saving technology.