May 12, 2010
| by Steven Castle
An LED lamp that looks like a traditional incandescent bulb? That glows like an incandescent?
Sort of, kind of.
I got to see the screw-in replacement LED lamp that Philips has produced for the Department of Energy’’ Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize (L Prize) competition.
The 10-watt lamp, which should be available sometime in 2011, is the equivalent of a 60-watt incandescent bulb and produces 900 lumens, which, in technical terms, is pretty darned good. Lumens denote the output of a bulb, and most 60-watt incandescent lamps produce 800-900 lumens.
The lamp also doesn’t look like a screw-in Franken-LED, with the diodes fused onto a traditional Edison-style base. Its shape resembles a traditional incandescent bulb, and you don’t see multiple LEDs shining within. A yellow phosphor above the LEDs gives an incandescent-like yellowish glow to the light. The “bulb” part of the lamp also has notches that form a heat sink, which is useful because LED lamps can throw quite a bit of heat that must be dissipated.
The lamp can also be dimmed by any off-the-shelf dimmer. Dimming was also a requirement of the L Prize program.
No word on pricing yet, but expect it to be a pretty penny to start - in the neighborhood of $50. Many screw-in replacement LED lamps on store shelves today are still priced similarly, but costs of LEDs are bound to decrease as manufacturing volume accelerates. Several of my sources say a “sweet spot” for most consumers to by LED replacement lamps would be $20 or less. And LED lamps should last for years.
How long before prices come down to that level? My bet is by around 2012.
That’s when 100-watt incandescent bulbs will begin to be phased out, followed by other incandescent lights in the years to follow.
Replacing incandescent bulbs with the L Prize LED lamp, says Zia Eftekhar, CEO of Philips Luminaires, can save $24 billion in energy costs worldwide.
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates