Are the Lights Going Out for Incandescent Bulbs?

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Bob BestPosted by:
Bob Best
Energy and Sustainability Services

No offense to Thomas Edison, but it looks like the end of the line for his great invention of 1879, the incandescent light bulb.

Probably the most common symbol of creativity, the heat-producing, energy-eating incandescent bulb is being swept aside by a myriad of more energy-efficient alternatives.

There are almost 5 billion electric light sockets in the country today and the odds are pretty good that most will be filled with compact fluorescent bulbs or LED alternatives within a few short years.

I just read about a new 60-watt LED bulb that is liquid-cooled with silicon.  The liquid cooling solves the current heating problem with LEDs, but it also adds a lot of weight and cost to the bulb.  In fact, the bulb weighs about 10 ounces and costs about $40. 

Is it a good deal?

The bulb saves about 80% in energy, so it pays for itself after about six months of use.  And, experts in LED bulbs are saying that they have the potential to last for years and years.

Is it important?

A little over 20% of the electricity produced in the United States is used for lighting.  If we can cut that by 80% by just switching light bulbs that payback in less than half a year, that might be an idea as good as Edison’s original bulb.  Maybe better.

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