Residential consumers in the US are now fairly familiar with the CFL replacements for traditional incandescent, while those in Europe are much more familiar, since the EU ban on incandescent bulbs started in late 2009. Well for anyone wondering, we’re not immune from such a ban either, though we’re on more of a relaxed timeline (don’t expect any rushes on incandescent bulbs anytime soon). Here in the US we started phasing out the 100-watt incandescent in 2012, with the phase-out goal with the 40-watt being 2014.

One article I read online made me a little sad to think that one of the modern world’s greatest inventions will be effectively banned in the near future… but that sadness can be somewhat canceled out by some of the very interesting new (and energy efficient) technologies out there.

Credit: Anton Fomkin via Flickr

Credit: Anton Fomkin via Flickr

LED lighting is getting more and more efficient as it moves ever closer to widespread applications for general building lighting (as opposed to the LED task light I have at my desk for example). This week three companies unveiled their new equivalent to the 60-watt incandescent screw-in. The data I’ve been able to compile shapes up like this:

Name | Energy Use | Savings | Life (hrs) | Release

Philips EnduraLED | 12 watts | 80% | 25,000 | Q4 2010

Sylvania Ultra LED | 12 watts | 80% | 25,000 | 8/2010

Lemnis Pharox 500 | 6 watts | 90% | 36,500 | Today

All three bulbs should last about 25 times as long as their incandescent counterparts (compared to a standard incandescent life-span of 2,000). So how much will one of these innovative energy-savers set you back? According to Warner Philips, Lemnis Lighting’s president, while the prices are likely to go down as LED lighting becomes more popular, estimated cost at the end of 2010 will be around $30 and down to $10 by 2015.

Compared to the CFL replacement though, is the LED bulb making that many strides? 60-watt equivalent CFLs are now almost common and range from 13 to 15-watts in consumption. You can pick up a GE 13 Watt CFL 10-pack online for $55.53 with tax and shipping… that’s about $5.50/bulb (much cheaper than the Lemnis pricing estimate for their LED product). The one issue I could see an advantage of the LED over the CFL is the minimal mercury that comes along with CFL usage.

So even though all three bulbs look really awesome and futuristic, maybe they’re just that… still a ways off, but definitely knocking on the door this week.


Contributing Expert

Sarah Gudeman is a mechanical design engineer and licensed EIT in the state of Nebraska. Ms. Gudeman also is a LEED Accredited Professional (BD+C) and an active member of the USGBC Nebraska Flatwater Chapter’s board of directors.

She specializes in building energy modeling and audits, sustainable design and environmentally-friendly practices.

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