LED Competition Heats Up

Lighting Science Group challenges Philips for 60-watt replacement prize.

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Here come the LED (light emitting diode) bulbs. Well, sort of.

Energy-efficient LED replacement lamps can already be found on store shelves in big box stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart, though their often hefty prices may dissuade many potential buyers.

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And if they don’t have a hefty price, chances are pretty good that the lumen output—or brightness—isn’t quite there yet, as a 60-watt replacement lamp should produce about 800 lumens or more to provide adequate light for performing tasks and reading. Some 40-watt replacement LEDs only produce about 450 lumens, which is useful for a hallway, closet or ambient light.

Will we see more truly useful LED lamps? The chances are pretty good.

Lighting Science Group has notified the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that it has developed with Light Prescriptions Innovators a highly efficient, high output and low cost 60-watt replacement LED bulb, and will submit it for testing to win the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize (L Prize) competition. Thus far only Philips has entered the L prize competition, with its EnduraLED lamp.

Lighting Science Group wouldn’t divulge its new bulb’s specs, but says it meets the L Prize’s stringent requirements for the 60-watt incandescent LED replacement, including:

• Efficacy of more than 90 lumens (light output) per watt (exceeds the efficiency of all incandescent and most compact fluorescent sources today, which range from 10 to 60 lumens per watt).
• Energy consumption of less than 10 watts.
• Output of more than 900 lumens.
• Lifetime of more than 25,000 hours (25 times greater than a typical incandescent bulb).
• Color Rendering Index (CRI) greater than 90 (a high measure of lighting quality).
• Color Temperature between 2700 – 3000 degrees Kelvin.
• An even omni-directional light distribution.
• A consumer retail price starting at $22.

“About half of all residential light sockets have a 60-watt bulb in them today, and our new bulb uses only about a sixth of the energy and last about 50 times longer than the incandescent bulb that is in there now,” said Rich Weinberg, chairman and chief executive officer of Lighting Science Group.

This month the company is making available its new ultra-efficient, omnidirectional LED A19 bulb that will sell for under $30 to replace the commonly used 60-watt incandescent bulb. Lighting Science Group says the 850-lumen, 13-watt LED bulb is 75 percent more efficient than the 60 watt incandescent bulb it replaces and will last close to 23 years.

Lighting Science Group says the the 60 watt equivalent will be on Home Depot store shelves in May, and that the L Prize bulb will be on the market by the end of the year.

According to the DOE, an LED replacement for the approximately 425 million 60-watt incandescent bulbs sold each year could save 34 terawatt-hours of electricity in one year, enough to power the lights of 17.4 million U.S. households and avoid 5.6 million metric tons of carbon emissions annually.

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