Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Is a Light Bulb Transforming the Lighting Industry? Here’s the latest
In 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy was directed by The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to establish the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize (L Prize) competition. The competition is the first and only government-sponsored technology competition. The overall goal was to challenge the lighting industry to develop high performance, energy-saving replacements for conventional light bulbs that will save American consumers and businesses money. What was the incentive? – A $10 million dollar prize.
Five years later, in 2012, the winner was announced, the Dutch electronics company, Philips Lighting North America who was the only entrant. The winning product, the EnduraLED 10W A19 Dimmable Bulb is a huge advancement in technology. Its lifespan is an estimated 30,000 hours (more than 20 years when used four hours a day) and it produces 900 lumens of light while only consuming 10 watts of energy, making it 83 percent more efficient than standard 60-watt incandescents.
There are mixed reviews about the buzz-worthy L Prize bulb. For one, the $60 price tag is steep for most American families, ironic since part of the multifaceted goal of the competition was to be an affordable alternative and failed to meet many of the original prize specifications. The goal was a $22 price tag in the first year, falling rapidly to $8 by year three.
Also, the trade publication Energy Efficiency & Technology notes that the bulbs that are coming to market are actually a little different than the model that won the competition.
Others are saying Phillips is receiving preferential treatment by federal buyers and other major players who are beholden to the federal government, such as the many utility companies offering subsidies to customers who purchase the bulbs. They think the knowledge of this fact may have further reduced Philips’ incentive to keep prices low.
However, none can argue that the bulb isn’t the most eco-friendly bulb on the market. According to the people at Philips, if every 60-watt incandescent in the U.S. was replaced with the bulb, the nation would collectively save $3.9 billion in energy costs in one year. Such a swap-out would curb the emission of 20 million metric tons of CO2, the equivalent of removing 4 million cars from the road.
What do you think of the L Prize bulb? Worth it or not?