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For awhile there, GE was hoping to keep up incandescent light bulbs by releasing a high efficiency incandescent bulb. But they quietly dropped that dead end about two years later. Now, they've made a new announcement that they're bringing out an LED bulb that'll replace incandescents, giving you 17 years worth of light from a $50 bulb. So far, LED bulbs are much more expensive, and they haven't made a big splash in the market because of this and a lack of warm lighting (though the colors and temperatures are getting much better across the board). But GE hopes they'll be a game changer for LEDs. Solid State Lighting reports that a 40-watt replacement GE Energy Smart® LED bulb available later this year or early 2011, for a price of $40-50.
GE says the new bulb uses just 9 watts and provides a 77% energy savings while lasting 25 times as long as the 40-watt bulb it's intended to replace. It also fits into standard incandescent sockets - which should be a given because who would want to buy an LED bulb if it also requires replacing the socket?
But there's still a problem - who uses 40 watt bulbs, even in their closets? We need 60 and 100 watt replacement bulbs. Now that's what we're really waiting for. And we won't have to wait too long for them, or for the prices to come down - more companies will be in competition as US federal lighting efficiency standards starting in 2012 weed out incandescent bulbs altogether. In 2012, 100-watt incandescents can no longer be made, with 75-watt bulbs phasing out in 2013, and 60- and 40-watt bulbs disappearing in 2014.
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