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This 10-watt alternative LED bulb (which glows white when turned on) could save the nation about 35 terawatt-hours of electricity or $3.9 billion in one year and avoid 20 million metric tons of carbon emissions if every 60-watt incandescent bulb in the U.S. was replaced with the L Prize winner. | Photo Courtesy of Philips Lighting North America
Thomas Edison would be amazed. The conventional light bulb has got some serious competition.
The 60-watt incandescent light bulb -- an estimated 425 million of which are sold each year -- has been technologically stunted for nearly a century. But an electrifying energy-saving alternative, which could arrive in stores as soon as early 2012, has emerged that could save the nation billions of dollars annually.
I'm referring to a revolutionary 10-watt light emitting diode (LED) bulb developed by Philips Lighting North America -- the first winner of the Energy Department's Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize (L Prize). The L Prize challenged the lighting industry to develop high performance, energy-saving replacements for conventional light bulbs that will save American consumers and businesses money.
“The L Prize challenges the best and brightest minds in the U.S. lighting industry to make the technological leaps forward that can greatly reduce the money we spend to light our homes and businesses each year,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “Not only does the L Prize challenge innovative companies like Philips to make LED technology even more energy efficient, it also spurs the lighting industry to make LEDs affordable for American families.”
The L Prize targeted the 60-watt bulb because it is one of the most commonly used types of light bulbs -- and could use a substantial upgrade. As the first winner of the L Prize, this 10-watt alternative could save the nation about 35 terawatt-hours of electricity or $3.9 billion in one year and avoid 20 million metric tons of carbon emissions if every 60-watt incandescent bulb in the U.S. was replaced with the L Prize winner.
“We looked at the L Prize challenge as an opportunity to innovate and develop an energy efficient alternative to a product that has remained largely unchanged for over a century,” said Zia Eftekhar, CEO of Philips Lighting North America. The Philips LED bulb was successfully completed after 18 months of intensive field, lab and product testing to meet the rigorous requirements of the L Prize.
And the LED bulb passed the test, including having a useful lifetime of more than 25,000 hours (compared to 1,000 to 3,000 of a 60-watt incandescent bulb) and a series of stress tests in extreme conditions such as high and low temperatures, humidity, vibration, high and low voltage, and various electrical waveform distortions.
As the winner, Philips will receive a $10 million cash prize as well as L Prize partner promotions and incentives. To date, 31 utilities and energy efficiency program partners stand ready to promote and develop markets for the winning product.
Stay tuned for more innovations in lighting and learn more at: http://www.lightingprize.org.