May 102011

vu1corp lamp A New Player in the Light Bulb GameAs the incandescent phase out rapidly approaches, light bulb manufacturers are focusing on developing quality alternatives for the familiar incandescent light bulb.  Last month, General Electric announced a new “hybrid” light bulb that will combine the efficiency of a compact fluorescent with the instant brightness of a halogen.

Now, a New York based company is joining the alternative light bulb battle.  Vu1 Corporation has developed a lamp based on the same technology used in picture tube TVs.  Inside the lamp, a stream of electrons is fired at phosphors coating the inside glass.  Those phosphors illuminate to create high-quality light that lasts about 10 times longer than a traditional incandescent light bulb.

According to the New York Times, Vu1 Corporation’s potential success lies in the fact that its light bulbs are less expensive than LEDs, yet comparably energy-efficient.  However, industry experts claim the price of LED lamps will continue to fall within the next couple of years.  Vu1 Corporation’s value proposition may be short-lived.

Currently, the company’s website only offers a 65-watt-equivalent reflector lamp (for ceiling installations).  They plan to expand their selection in the future.

Apr 082011

hybrid light bulb Hybrid Light BulbsGeneral Electric announced it will be releasing a unique new light bulb on Earth Day.

Apparently, “hybrid” will not just be all about cars anymore.

This light bulb is a combination halogen-compact fluorescent (CFL) built inside a glass bulb shaped like a traditional incandescent. GE is calling it a hybrid-halogen CFL, and advertising it as “three bulbs in one.”

The instant brightness factor makes our new hybrid halogen-CFL more versatile than other CFLs. Simply flip that light switch and it’s at your service – immediately.” Kristin Gibbs, general manager of consumer marketing, GE Lighting

The light bulb will be available in GE Energy Smart, Soft White, and Reveal bulbs, price between $5.99 and $9.99.  Add it to the list of replacement contenders for the standard incandescent light bulb, which will be phased out beginning January 1, 2012.

Will you be buying one?

Mar 252011

Turning off the incandescent The Expected Impact: The Incandescent Phase Out, Part 5This post concludes our week-long series featuring everything you ever needed to know about the upcoming incandescent phase out as a result of the EISA 2007.  Our other posts in the series: Truth & Lies; The Fine Print, Explained; The Inclusions & Exceptions; The Replacement Contenders.  Thanks for reading as always, and here’s hoping you are now an expert on the phase out!

You may be thinking: “Okay, I get that the EISA 2007 was designed to reduce energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions… but is an incandescent phase out really going to make all that much of a difference?”

The short answer?  Yes. Continue reading »

Mar 242011

On the bench The Replacement Contenders: The Incandescent Phase Out, Part 4This post is part of our week-long series about the upcoming incandescent phase out as a result of the EISA 2007.  If you haven’t been reading so far, check out Parts 1, 2, and 3!

One of the biggest misconceptions among the public and news media is that compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are the only replacements for incandescent light bulbs.  It couldn’t be farther from the truth.

There are currently at least three widely-known technology options that can replace incandescent light bulbs and deliver the required higher efficiency, and more innovative technological options lay just around the corner.  Three other light sources that are lesser known and not discussed below are cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs), induction lamps, and electron stimulated luminescence lamps (ESL). Continue reading »

Mar 232011

Not All Incandescents Affected The Inclusions & Exceptions: The Incandescent Phase Out, Part 3This post is part of a week-long series explaining the upcoming incandescent phase out as a result of the EISA 2007.  If you’ve missed the posts so far, make sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2!

We’ve already gone over common misconceptions about the phase out and explained when you can expect this all to happen.  Now, for the next tidbit of information:

Did you know that the efficiency standards set by the EISA 2007 do not apply to all incandescent bulbs?  In fact, there’s a pretty long list of special-use incandescent lamps that have been excluded – one of which is the 3-way incandescent light bulb, a very popular consumer product. Continue reading »

Mar 222011

Understanding the EISA 2007 The Fine Print, Explained: The Incandescent Phase Out, Part 2

Our post yesterday represented the first in a week-long series about the upcoming incandescent phase out as a result of the EISA 2007.  If you missed it, catch up here.

Yesterday, we mentioned that the EISA 2007 does not ban incandescent A-line light bulbs; however, the new law will, in fact, result in the elimination of today’s standard 100W, 75W, 60W, and 40W light bulbs.

If you’re thinking there’s a discrepancy here, read on.

The EISA 2007 sets “maximum rate wattages.”  In other words, light bulbs will be required to consume less electricity (measured in watts) for the amount of light produced (measured in lumens).

Each category of “lumen ranges” that the EISA specifies corresponds with one of today’s standard incandescent bulbs. See the chart below:

Continue reading »

Mar 212011

shattered misconceptions1 Truth & Lies: The Incandescent Phase Out, Part 1There have been a good deal of inaccurate and misleading reports in the news lately about the upcoming incandescent phase out.  In fact, even NBC Nightly News got it wrong when they recently said that the government is requiring people to switch to CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps).

The buzz is all about the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007), signed by George W. Bush.  The law was designed to reduce energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions.  Part of that law involves new standards for light bulbs (called “lamps” in the lighting industry).  The first step toward implementing those standards is set to go into effect in just a little over 9 months (January 1, 2012), hence the recent news reports.

This week, we are going to publish a series of blog posts to educate you all about the upcoming phase out.  We’ll write a post a day (details about new legislation do not exactly make for light reading).

By the end of the week, you will be an expert.  At the very least, you’ll be better informed than NBC’s Chief Environmental Affairs Correspondent! Continue reading »

Jan 112011

oldest light bulb 194x300 Burning 109 Years and Counting: The Worlds Oldest Light BulbIt’s been broadcasted on MythBusters, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records and even featured in two children’s books.  George W. Bush called it “an enduring symbol of the American spirit of invention.”  It has its own website, as well as a fan club with thousands of members.

Yes, it’s just a light bulb.  But this light bulb has been burning for 109 years!

Called the “Centennial Light,” the bulb was installed in a northern California firehouse in 1901.  Since then, it has been transferred among various fire stations in the area a couple of times.  However, the longest it has been off since 1901 is a week, during renovations of its resident firehouse in 1937.

The Centennial Light now resides in Fire Station 6 of Livermore, California.  The bulb, which was designed by Adolphe Chaillet, is handblown with a carbon filament.  Chaillet competed against Thomas Edison in the late 1800s to design the brightest, most energy efficient and longest lasting bulb.  Obviously, Chaillet did not prevail; although accounts say his bulb could withstand much higher voltages than Edison’s.

Steve Bunn, who has been deemed Bulb Protector for the Centennial Light, said the fire station once received an offer of $5,000 for the bulb.  He said they have no intention of selling the bulb, and that the fire station will keep it burning as long as possible.

 Posted by on January 11, 2011 at 10:25 am
Nov 172010

Old incandescent bulb Light After the Incandescent Bulb BanThe incandescent bulb ban is quickly approaching.  California will be the first state to ban the 100W incandescent light bulb, starting on January 1, 2011.

The rest of the country will begin the phase out starting in January of 2012.  Eventually, 100W, 75W, 60W, and 40W incandescent light bulbs will all be banned from sale.  There will also be minimum energy efficiency standards for existing incandescent bulbs.

The phase out is a part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which is meant to reduce energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions.  But Americans have been lighting their homes with incandescent bulbs since Edison patented his design in the 19th century.  What will light after the incandescent bulb ban look like?

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) recently published a brochure explaining the various options for replacing incandescent bulbs (halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs, and solid state bulbs).  They even included an illustration of a U.S. household with lighting suggestions for each room to replace old incandescent bulbs.  Check out the brochure for details, it’s very helpful!  Also, feel free to weigh in by commenting below:

Will you “go green” early and start switching out your incandescent bulbs?