Department Of Energy Crowns Light Bulb Of The Future Contest-Winner

Department Of Energy Crowns Light Bulb Of The Future Contest-Winner

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light-sparks-in-tree-JSmith-FlickrA Philips LED bulb is the winner of the U.S. Department of Energy’s $10 million competition to develop a low-cost, energy efficient, high-performance replacement for the incandescent bulb.

The 60-watt incandescent bulb is one of the most widely used types of light bulbs by consumers. It also is extremely wasteful in its energy usage. The energy-saving L Prize winner uses less than 10 watts of power, providing an energy savings of 83 percent, while still emitting the same amount of light, and with the familiar warm glow.

If every 60-watt incandescent bulb in the U.S. was replaced with the 10-watt L Prize winner, the nation would save about 35 terawatt-hours of electricity and avoid 20 million metric tons of carbon emissions. That’s enough electricity to power the lights of nearly 18 million U.S. households.

Buildings in the United States consume roughly 70 percent of the electricity generated across the country and represent one of the greatest opportunities for reducing energy consumption through the use of energy-efficient technologies.

l-prize-bulbThe winning bulb, announced August 3, excelled through 18 months of rigorous performance testing carried out by independent laboratories and field assessments conducted with utilities and other partners. The product also performed exceedingly well through a series of stress tests, in which the product was subjected to extreme conditions such as high and low temperatures, humidity, vibration, high and low voltage, and various electrical waveform distortions.

The L Prize-winning, 60-watt equivalent LED bulb from Philips could arrive in stores as soon as early 2012.

According to Fast Company, the bulb still won’t be cost-competitive with CFLs for several years — it will cost just under $18 when it debuts, compared to $3 for some CFL bulbs (though it will still pay itself off eventually through electricity savings). But Philips will get plenty of promotional help from the DOE and a network of 31 utilities and energy-efficiency organizations that will go to work trying to lower the cost of the bulb with everything from national retailer partnerships to product incentives paid directly to consumers. This will, according to the DOE, “drive sales volumes up and prices down far more quickly than would otherwise be possible.”

(For now, check out this dimmable CF Warm Glow bulb.)