The Re-Fire Strikes Back

Cree 4flow LED lampAgain, welcome to 2015.  And a happy 2015 it is, at least in energy.  Not only have LED lamps fallen in price drastically from just a few years ago, but they continue to improve, in multiple respects.  Cree, one of the bigger names in LEDs, didn’t just release their groundbreaking lamp about a year ago.  They’re now on their generation-2 product, and yes, competition has improved the breed.

I’ve just installed Cree’s “4flow” LED lamp.  I bought this standard Edison base (“A19”) in 40-Watt equivalent.  Actual consumption is 6W, saving 34 nega-watts, or 85% less than an incandescent bulb of the same light output.  That’s also a savings over a compact fluorescent, though far less.  The big trick is getting rid of incandescents, which have only a few percent light efficacy.  The other ~97% of the electricity you put in is wasted as heat.  Basically, incandescents are little heaters that, oh by the way, make some light too.  But unlike fluorescents, LEDs turn on instantly.  They’re vibration, cold, and cycling resistant.  Their lives aren’t shortened by on-off cycles, such as bathroom and hallway installations.  Nor do they contain any mercury, though the mercury level of CFLs has been exaggerated. Continue reading

4 Light Bulb… Snore

I just bought… an incandescent bulb!  Oh wait, weren’t they banned?  The exemption list is long:441z

  • Anything under 40 Watts
  • Anything over 100 Watts
  • Appliance (fridge/stove) bulbs
  • 3-Way bulbs
  • Candelabra bulbs, reflector (“silver end”) bulbs
  • Infrared-specific lamps
  • Rugged (vibration, shatterproof) bulbs
  • Colored lamps, plant lamps, “black lights” and “bug lights”
  • Tube bulbs (T-type) over 10″ long
  • Most types of stage lighting
  • Plus several more…

Not to mention stores are still selling “new old stock.”  One could argue the so-called “incandescent ban” is, in effect, a test of reading comprehension. Continue reading

Philips Followthrough: SlimNotShady

That was fast… Philips said they would respond to Cree’s sub-$10 40W-equivalent LED.  Their initial model was competitive, but didn’t push the technology or price point forward.  Philips had then shown test units of their newer LED design to reviewers, but the final price had yet to be announced by them and retailer Home Depot.s6

Now in the new year, Philips’ SlimStyle 60W-incandescent equivalent (10.5W actual), below $10, puts the ball squarely in Cree’s court.  Cree’s “60W” LED is ~$13 before rebates.  This broke the $10 barrier in 60W, the biggest seller in the US.  Rebates will almost certainly cut that further.  So far, it seems to be online only; no store by me had any.  It also seems units will hit shelves soon, maybe in days.  The warranty’s 3 years, in a 25,000 hr life claim.  For three years, at these savings, it makes sense even if it dies the day after the warranty expires.  So I might drop $10, get 49.5 negawatts, and give you my opinion.  Can’t lose as long as I have my receipt.

The future is here, folks.  Some people still insist on being stuck in the past.

4 Light Bulbs… Philips Followup

When Cree dropped a bombshell in March (a sub-$10 LED lamp), Philips had to respond.  They promised it by the end of the year.  It didn’t quite break the $10 barrier, sure.  An instant rebate now got me an 8 Watt LED (40W in incandescents) for 37djust under that mental barrier.  $10 now got me 32 more negawatts.

Who doesn’t like the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007?  People who can’t do math.  Idiots who don’t get TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).  The LED’s about $9 more than an incandescent, sure.  But it’s built for a 20,000+ hour life, versus ~1000 hr incandescents.  You’d buy ~$19 in new bulbs versus one LED.  Meanwhile, at 8W you save $4.20 a year vs. 40W incandescents (assuming 3 hrs a day, at the US average 12¢ a kW-hour).  Thus, power-bill savings alone will pay off sometime in year 3.  Will pay off- the warranty is 6 years.

It’s a no-brainer, folks.  Now combine its power savings with no replacements, and in its 6 years, it saves over 30 bucks- $6.50 in replacements, $25.20 in juice. Continue reading

Followup: 4 Light Bulbs…Of THE FUTURE

04cHappy solstice!  How better to observe than lots of light, but little juice.  Earlier I had written on nulling out the electricity of my vehicle, by saving it elsewhere- “negawatts.”  I said nothing on LEDs (solid state emitters) at the time.  While efficient, very long-lived, and fast, they were almost fifty bucks.  Then 40, then 30… see where I’m going?

This Spring, Cree’s bombshell hit shelves: dimmable LEDs, in the usual A19 thread (“Edison base”), at ten dollars (40W equivalent; a “60W” was $14.)  At 6 actual Watts, I’d score 34 negawatts in one move.  Still, I held out.  Only one store (Home Depot) had it, only in multi-packs.  But reviews have been kind, they’re now sold individually, and the price has fallen (after rebates) to… six bucks.  It’s now a no-brainer: more efficient than compact fluorescents (barely), with no hum/flicker, lag time, or power-cycling issues, at nearly the same price.  If it all works, that is.  Does it? Continue reading