GE Explains (Almost) All about the Future of Incandescent
We have not been kind to GE since it announced its new improved incandescent bulb plans that will possibly yield a bulb with the efficiency of CFLs at some point in the future. We thought the timing of the announcement was designed to undercut the launch of 18seconds.org. and that it was an attempt to cut replacement programs like Mr. Luna's Bright Idea off at the knees. We thought that it would give an excuse to a lot of people to wait three years to change their bulbs when should be doing so now.
We were invited to talk to a few senior people at GE about this and listened to Earl Jones, a senior counsel for General Electric who deals with government relations. He said that GE is not trying to undercut demand for CFL's as they are one of the biggest manufacturers and sell millions of them. Their press release was a response to the California legislation proposed to ban the incandescent by 2012. According to Jones :"to promote innovation you need a standard that is technology neutral rather than a technology ban."Kim Freeman of GE had previously said "We don't normally come out and talk about technology this far in advance, but we want to get involved in this debate" - the international movement to outlaw traditional incandescent bulbs. Banning any specific technology is absolutely unnecessary," she continued, "GE supports national policy that will drive improved energy standards for all lighting products, regardless of the technologies."
Mr. Jones said that GE supported and was a member of the European Lamp Companies Federation, which has proposed "public incentives to encourage consumers to purchase more efficient products and setting performance standards that will eliminate the least efficient products from the market." He also said that even in Australia they are considering changing the focus to minimum efficiency standards instead of a total ban.
Joe Howley, Manager Environmental Marketing for Lighting, pointed out that GE did not just jump into this new bulb, but that GE has never stopped developing more efficient bulbs.
At TreeHugger we love innovation and look forward to using GE's new improved incandescent bulbs. However we are sorry to see anything that slows down the momentum for change, and know that while their point was not to stop people from buying CFLs, (particularly GE's) it will be used by many as an excuse.