Save $125 Billion With Solid State Light Bulbs

Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb (and 1,000’s of other things!)

All of us need to get rid of our incandescent light bulbs.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has projected that our nation could save 29% of our national lighting energy consumption by 2025 — $125B in energy costs — if all of us converted to solid state lighting (SSL’s which mainly are LED‘s and OLED‘s).

The DOE has this site devoted to SSL technology and even an “L Prize” for innovation and breakthroughs in SSL.

Ever since I purchased a Toyota Prius and a Neuton rechargeable lawnmower, I’ve been both delighted and stunned with the compromises one has to make today to be more energy efficient: the Prius averages 47mpg but is less substantial (and luxurious) than what I’m used to in a car and the Neuton batteries (lead acid’s) and its engine is inefficient enough that I have to cut my lawn every five days or the mower bogs down.

I’ve been on the hunt for LED lights for my home — and 40w, 60w and 100w bulbs seemed to be scarce and certainly NOT available at retailers like Home Depot or Target — but they’re now beginning to appear from companies like EarthLED (and their 100w bulb replacement with a tiny fan in it to keep it cool and ensure the life is long) to companies with initiatives like those at GE and at Philips.

The kicker is that these bulbs are still quite expensive.

The EarthLED 100w bulb is $80 but, as you can see from this photo, it sheds a lot of light.

A simple table lamp is one of the most common uses for the traditional incandescent, but, as you can see above, you no longer need to waste 100 watts of power to fill the room with light, in fact, since the EvoLux takes advantage of how you light actually bounces off of a particular fixture, you get a more efficient use of the available light. No need to worry about potentially toxic CFL bulbs either, the EvoLux outshines them as well.

The tradeoffs in trying to “go green” are worth it. Unless you’re paying no attention (or are one of the global warming or peak oil deniers), then you believe that oil is a finite resource and we’re going to run out at some point (and for one of the best documentaries on the subject, rent “A Crude Awakening” at your DVD store, on iTunes, or watch it like we did, instantly, as part of our NetFlix subscription) and that global energy consumption is rising.

How Close Are We To Mainstream Solid State Lighting?

The DOE has a multi-year plan to phase out incandescent lighting and replace it with SSL (PDF) and projects the “hockey stick” exponential growth is LED technology and the efficiency of this sort of output.

Doing a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation on LED replacement bulbs for my home using  (i.e., replacing the CFL and incandescent 40w, 60w and 100w bulbs we have installed) would cost us $2400! While the return on that investment would be six years or so, in today’s economic climate it’s unlikely that most people would spend their money that way.

Manufacturer’s are soooo close to mainstreaming SSL technology that I predict we’ll start to see lower priced options (e.g., a 100w LED for under $40) within a year.

Watch this video by a Hank Green, editor of EcoGeek, as he demonstrates incandescent, CFL and LED lighting technology and also proves that he can generate A LOT of personal energy himself!

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  1. bex on April 27, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    good idea… but what about the unintended consequences?

    Incandescent light bulbs are inefficient light sources… but they are AMAZINGLY efficient heaters. Since they heat surfaces and not air, you FEEL warmer in a cold room because of the lights.

    If you replace them all with CFLs or LEDs, your heating bill will spike a lot in the winter, and I’d wager you’d still feel cold.

  2. Finding the Housing Price Bottom - Civil Challenger on April 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    […] Green Tech Can Save $120 Billion? According to Fast Company magazine, there are 110 million households in the USA with at least 50 light bulb sockets each on average.. The United States government reported that if we would just switch to LED type lighting, we could save $125 billion over the next 15 years in energy costs. […]

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About Steve Borsch

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.