LED Technology Set to Enlighten Home Energy Consumers

Incandescent light bulbs have been around since Thomas Edison, and they lose 80 percent of the electricity used to power them as heat waste. A new wave of efficient and technologically advanced light bulbs could change that by reducing energy demand (and utility bills).

In “The Light Bulb Ban,” energyNOW! correspondent Lee Patrick Sullivan visits the Lightfair International trade show in Philadelphia to find the latest offerings in energy efficient bulbs. He finds a 60-watt equivalent LED bulb that will be the first in the world to sell for less than $20 and the first 100-watt equivalent LED bulb to hit the market in October. He also finds out how LED technology is expanding to bring us bulbs that can be dimmed and programmed with a tablet computer or smart phone and wireless sound throughout the home.

Tom Benton of the Lighting Science Group, maker of the under $20 60-watt bulb, explains how LED manufacturers are bringing costs down. Brett Sharenow of Switch Lighting, which makes the 100-watt equivalent, tells Lee Patrick that the Switch Bulb, as it's called, is designed as a direct replacement for 100-watt incandescent bulbs and that consumers shouldn't be able to tell the difference between the two – until they see their electric bills. The Switch Bulb lasts 15 years and uses just 15 percent of the electricity that an incandescent bulb would use, so it will probably pay for itself.

But even for those who prefer incandescent bulbs, the news isn't all bad. Martha Delgado of Bulbright Industries, a halogen light bulb maker, explains how the government's phaseout of inefficient light bulbs works, and why consumers will still be able to buy incandescent bulbs.

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