Lighten Up
LED light bulbs are getting cheaper, subtler, and more efficient
Tech / 21 Mar 2013
Until recently, consumers in search of energy-efficient lighting have been limited to bulbs that were astronomically expensive and emitted a most unflattering florescent light—provoking nostalgia, even among green-minded consumers, for wasteful-but-warmer alternatives. Now, following a string of illumination innovations, LED offerings are becoming even more efficient than their predecessors while also achieving the effect of a more traditional incandescent glow.
: A new light bulb by the LED experts at Cree has generated a ton of buzz for its low price point, elegant design, and quality of light. The bulb retails for $10-14 depending on its wattage (40 or 60), and is available in Warm White and Daylight hues. It also features a warm color temperature comparable to that of most incandescent bulbs, and by all accounts impressively replicates the home lighting most people prefer. More importantly, the Cree light bulb boasts an energy savings of 84% compared to traditional bulbs, and a lifespan of 25,000 hours—an incandescent’s is just 1,000.
: The NanoLeaf may look like a contemporary objet d’art, but its function is eminently practical. This au courant deco-style bulb is the product of a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, which surpassed its funding goal by more than $250K. Billed as “the world’s most energy efficient light bulb,” the NanoLeaf uses only 12 watts of electricity to generate the same amount of light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb—a rare, high wattage among LED offerings. Like Cree, NanoLeaf promises a softer, more comforting gradient of light than the usual LED, which, paired with its cheery design, could make it the ultimate mood brightener.
Samsung A19 LED
: Samsung’s latest LED bulb doesn’t break any barriers in terms of wattage—its 13W usage for 60 watts of light is fairly common—but it does set a new standard in LED longevity. The steampunk-styled bulb is purported to last an incredible 40,000 hours, or 36 years, making it a once-in-a-generation investment. The bulb emits a warm, white, UV-free light, without any of the annoying flickering typical to LEDs and fluorescents. With a lifespan 40 times longer than an incandescent bulb, and 75% better energy efficiency, the bulb warrants its $22 price tag—which works out to an unbeatable $.60 per year.
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