Jul 152011

LED light GE Enters the Ring: L Prize Update

Almost two years ago, Philips Electronics submitted their L Prize Competition entry to the Department of Energy.  Since that time, the entry has been undergoing rigorous tests so the DOE can determine if it meets performance and lifetime requirements.

As of June 30, 2011, Philips has their first competitor!  GE Lighting announced they are entering the L Prize Competition. Their design for the 60 watt replacement LED incorporates a component from Cree.

What is the L Prize?

The L Prize is the DOE’s initiative to push lighting manufacturers to create the most energy-efficient, high-performance, top-quality light bulb to replace the common light bulb.  To enter the contest for the replacement 60 watt incandescent light bulb, manufacturers must develop a product that delivers more than 900 lumens of light, consumes less than 10 watts of energy, and has an average rated life of 25,000 hours, among other requirements.

The winners will receive between $5-10 million, partner incentives, and federal purchasing agreements.

Jun 022011

Walmart has been in the process of retrofitting parking lot lighting for years.  Their first full-scale test of using LED lighting in parking lots was back in 2008 at a store in Rogers, Arkansas.  Since then, they’ve been focusing on rolling out LED lighting in international markets (since those have the highest energy costs).

Here are before and after photos of an LED retrofit in a Guatemala City Walmart parking lot:

parking lot1 LEDs, Before & After parking lot leds1 LEDs, Before & After

As you can see, LEDs offer visual benefits along with energy and maintenance savings. Since LEDs are highly directional, the light is better focused onto the parking lot ground, minimizing the effects of light pollution in the surrounding areas.

May 182011

lighting retrofits Lighting Retrofits Are More Affordable Than You ThinkDo you know about all of the tax deductions and utility rebates available for businesses undergoing lighting retrofits?

“Retrofit” is not a new concept in the world of energy-efficient lighting but it sure seems to be the hottest buzz word in energy efficiency, and for good reason.  Businesses across the world are revamping their lighting systems and saving millions of dollars as a result.  Just in the restaurant industry; McDonald’s, Burger King, Red Robin, IHOP, Chili’s, Starbucks, and Applebee’s have all initiated or completed LED retrofit projects.

The opportunity to improve efficiency, reduce energy consumption, save on power bills, and cut replacement & maintenance costs is up for grabs for anyone that can afford to front the initial investment.

However, that initial investment is not such a staggering figure, thanks to government incentives.  Read on for an overview of some of the available options. Continue reading »

May 122011

android led bulb Androids, LEDs, and GoogleHeads up: Google is entering the LED market.

At the Google I/O conference this week, the search giant announced a new partnership with manufacturer Lighting Science Group, as well as an exciting new product.  Coming this fall – an LED light bulb that can be controlled by an Android device (smartphone, tablet, or laptop)!

The LED light bulb will use a new mesh network wireless protocol.  In other words, the actual light bulb will be connected to the Internet so you can dim or turn off lights remotely (or program them to do so) from your Android device.

You can even program the lights to communicate with your smartphone’s GPS.  Just imagine walking into a room that automatically brightens simply because your smartphone is in your pocket.

Google and Lighting Science Group report that the first product released will be an omnidirectional 60-watt equivalent LED light bulb.  Prices will be comparable to Lighting Science Group’s standard LEDs, which range from about $20 to $35.

Apr 252011

If you’ve never checked out GOOD (www.good.is), it’s definitely worth a few minutes of your time.  It’s an editorial-based media platform.  Their infographics are incredible, and they cover subjects ranging from 21st century political assassinations to hand-washing in the US.  GOOD’s most recent infographic was on LEDs.  See below, and click on the photo for a larger version:

led infographic Cool LED Infographic

Apr 192011

led light therapy LEDs for Brain Injury Treatment?We’ve all heard about the benefits of LED lighting.  It’s extremely energy efficient, long-lasting and cool to the touch as long as the fixture is well-designed.

Well, here’s an LED benefit we didn’t see coming.  A recent study found that LEDs can play a key role in helping patients recover from traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

In the study, LEDs were used daily as light therapy on TBI patients’ scalps and foreheads.  Doctors reported significant improvements in cognitive function for patients that received the therapy.  In addition, the LED light therapy seemed to reduce the severity of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The study was carried out by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

Apr 142011

lighting facts label 211x300 Lighting Facts Label UpdateLast July, the Federal Trade Commission made an important announcement that changed the meaning of the words “Lighting Facts” forever.

They created new consumer packaging requirements for all medium screw base light bulbs.  The new labels, called “Lighting Facts,” would educate consumers on brightness, energy cost, life expectancy, light appearance, wattage and mercury content, making it easier to buy energy efficient light bulbs.  The labels emphasize lumens rather than watts as a way to measure light output.

Originally, the label requirements were set to take effect in July 2011.  However, the FTC just extended the deadline by six months to provide manufacturers more time to incorporate the label on packaging.  Apparently, this deadline extension was in response to a petition submitted by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.

It’ll be a little while longer before you see these labels in stores.  The new deadline is January 1, 2012, coinciding with the start date for the incandescent light bulb phase out.

Mar 302011
jim broderick When to Avoid LEDs

Jim Brodrick, head of the Department of Energy’s Solid State Lighting Program

Awhile back, we published a blog post called Why LEDs Aren’t Always the Answer.  It explained a Department of Energy report that announced LED T8 replacement lamps were very poor alternatives for fluorescents.

There is a good deal of hype about LEDs and for good reason but it’s important to remember this is still a new technology that has its own unique limitations.  While there are many good LED applications within high quality products (i.e., barbecue lights, cabinet lights, exit signs, night lights, step lights, recessed lights, under cabinet lights), there are also some poorly-manufactured LEDs fixtures with flawed designs.

The Department of Energy released another report recently about LED replacements for four-foot linear fluorescent lamps (used often in commercial spaces like schools, hospitals and offices).  In their words:

Vendors of LED linear replacement lamps claim energy savings and long lifetimes, but testing of currently available products to date does not support these claims.

Unfortunately, LED linear replacement lamps fall far short of fluorescents in light output, color quality, distribution, cost-effectiveness, and lumen maintenance.  The DOE recommends avoiding all LED linear replacement lamps for the time being.

Feb 282011
cree blog1 3 Myths About LED Lighting

Photo via Cree’s Lighting the LED Revolution blog

With any new technology, there are bound to be a few public misconceptions.   It may surprise you that the statements below are completely false:

“LEDs do not give off heat.”

All light sources generate heat, so don’t let anyone tell you that LEDs are an exception to the rule.

It is true that LEDs do not emit as much heat as other sources of light: that’s because they are so energy efficient.  However, LED fixtures still need to be designed to dissipate heat; otherwise, they will fail prematurely.

Where did this common misconception stem from?  LED fixtures feel cool to the touch as long as they’re designed properly.  As you can see in the photo, it’s even safe for a baby to hold a lit LED! Continue reading »

 Posted by on February 28, 2011 at 10:33 am

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