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Incandescent Light Bulbs: Not Dead Yet

7/15/2009 12:00:00 AM

Tags: incandescent light bulbs, energy-efficient lighting, Philips

Reacting to a law Congress passed two years ago that will take traditional incandescent light bulbs off the market by 2012, Philips Lighting has risen to the challenge of creating energy-efficient, affordable incandescent bulbs

Green Lighting 

Incandescent bulbs can’t compete with the energy savings of compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), which use 75 percent less energy than traditional  bulbs. But Philips Lighting’s Halogena Energy Savers bulbs (available at Home Depot and Amazon.com) are the first revamped incandescents that offer 30 percent more efficiency than traditional incandescent bulbs—at the higher price of $5 per bulb. 

The technology that makes the new incandescent bulbs more efficient is a special reflective coating applied to gas-filled capsules that surround the bulb’s filament. The coating bounces lost heat back to the filament, which is transformed into light. Previously all the energy used to create the heat did nothing to help light the bulb. 

Despite the higher price, the new incandescents may have a market with consumers who prefer the softer light and the ease of use with dimmers. Consumers may also feel better about bringing mercury-free incandescents into their homes. (CFLS contain mercury, a toxic metal, which makes them difficult to recycle.) 

Now, lighting researchers’ goal is to create an incandescent bulb that matches the energy savings of CFLs but still offers the appealing qualities of traditional incandescents. 

LED (light-emitting diodes) bulbs are another popular, energy-efficient choice. LEDs promise high energy-efficiency, but are still expensive — around $100 for one LED bulb. Currently, LEDs are widely used only in electronic products and street lights.

An estimated 90 percent of consumers still use traditional incandescent bulbs. What kind of bulbs light up your home? What do you think about these revamped incandescent bulbs? Leave me a comment and let me know!



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