CES 2009: Smart Lite Changes the Bulbs, Not the Ballast

smart lite bulbs photo

Photo by Jaymi Heimbuch

The Smart Lite is an interesting approach to cutting down how much of a light bulb you replace when it burns out. Ditch the bulb but keep the ballast. The Smart Lite from 3E Technologies is trying to solve a waste problem. The company states that ballasts usually have 50,000 hours of life in them, so when a CFL burns out, a perfectly good ballast is wasted. So they've designed their bulbs to detach from the ballast.

From their website:

For the first time the ballast and the bulb can be separated and put together in just a second or two. This is a simple 'Insert & Twist' operation.

The Smart Lite has an efficiency of 65 lumens per watt. That is 62.5% improvement from the existing CFLs. The Smart CFL ballast has a minimum of 50,000 Hours life. This means, it will take 5 Smart Lite bulbs, each having a life of 10,000 Hours.

The efficiency and savings to the end user is remarkable. There is no need to discard the electronic ballast which be re-used. This saves raw material, energy used in making the ballast, and land fill problems. The Smart Lite is truly a "Green Light".

It sounds like a pretty cool idea, though I don't know exactly how much waste it saves since it likely requires a bit more material than a regular CFL in order to switch out like that.

The only issue I take with this is no where on their website or in their literature do they insist, or even mention, that customers should recycle their bulbs.

There is no information if or when these lights will be on the market, though the booth attendee told me they'll be priced at $3.99 for the starter kit, with a ballast and two bulbs, and $1.99 for the bulbs.

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