LED lighting and technology advances brighten your life.
The phase out of incandescent light bulbs has begun. Many retail stores are discontinuing their stock. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, signed into law by President George Bush, requires that all general lighting be 30 percent more efficient than traditional light bulbs.
These energy efficiency standards start with 100-watt bulbs in 2012 and will include 40-watt bulbs by 2014.
The replacement choices for our beloved pear-shaped light bulbs—compact florescent light bulbs (CFL’s) and light emitting diodes (LED’s)—don’t exactly thrill consumers. CFL’s contain mercury—a toxic chemical—and despite assurances from the Environmental Protection Agency, breaking one creates a potentially hazardous situation. LED’s are expensive and don’t brighten up a room the way incandescents do. They’re not multi-directional and don’t work when hung upside down.
San Jose-based Switch Lighting has found a solution. Their new LED bulbs with “City of Light” technology look almost identical to and are as multi-directional as a traditional light bulb.
The differences between current LED’s and Switch are like night and day. LED’s heat up, though they appear cool to the touch. Heat affects their power, which affects their brightness. The new Switch LED is cooled on all sides with a non-toxic cooling solution and special coating that draws heat away from its glass dome. This allows the bulb surface to maintain a continuously steady temperature, producing more power within the bulb. More power means that more light will fill a room.
There are other pluses to Switch Lighting’s new LED.
These new bulbs are dimmable—a first in the LED industry. And they can be mounted in any direction, including upside down for porch lighting.
The brightest LED bulb on the market is the equivalent of a 60-watt bulb. Switch introduced their 60- and 75-watt equivalent in December 2011. They’ll launch the world’s first 100-watt equivalent sometime this spring.
The new Switch LED uses 85 percent less power than an incandescent, meaning big energy savings to the consumer. In fact, says Brett Sharenow, Switch Lighting’s Chief Strategy Officer, the bulb’s payback is within one year. Payback time for current LED technology can be as long as three years. Sharenow says that, after the first year, you’ll achieve around $180 in annual energy savings with their 60-watt equivalent bulb.
Another great plus: Switch LED’s will outlast current CFL’s. Contrary to other companies’ claims, most CFL’s only last for up to 3,000 hours. The government actually allows for a percentage of failure with CFL’s. The Switch LED has been successfully tested to last for 11,000 hours with no degradation. Depending on your usage, that’s between 10 and 15 years of life. No incandescent can match that!
Among their other innovations, Switch’s new LED is based on “cradle to cradle” design, which was pioneered by writer and sustainability expert Bill McDonough, a member of Switch’s Advisory Board. McDonough’s global investment company, VantagePoint Capital Partners, is Switch Lighting’s chief financial backer.
“We want every component of this bulb back at its end of life,” Sharenow says. “There will be no waste.” The company will safely biodegrade or recycle them.
I viewed a demonstration and comparison of these amazing bulbs against CFL’s. The difference in brightness was unmistakable. The 60-watt equivalent LED was much brighter than a CFL. The 75-watt equivalent was almost annoyingly bright! The 100-watt equivalent was glaringly white—similar to the output a SolaBulb. After seeing all three demonstrated, the light output from a normal CFL seemed dim. Switch plans to introduce these remarkable bulbs in both warm and neutral white.
With all these pluses and the exceptional brightness that these bulbs produce, the price point will be slightly lower than current LED’s. Suggested retail for Switch’s innovative new LED bulbs will be $20 or less. These include the Switch 60 and 75 bulbs, the Switch 100 in neutral white and the Switch 100 in warm white.
The Switch LED was recently honored at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas where it was named an International CES Innovations 2012 Design and Engineering Award Innovations honoree.
Currently shipping to hotels across the country, Switch LED’s will be introduced in select consumer markets in higher-end electronic stores like Best Buy this fall and winter. Sharenow anticipates a national rollout in late 2012.
For more details, go to SwitchLightbulbs.com.