Green Sustainable Lighting

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LEDs + Solar Energy = Saving Lives June 30, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — greensustainablelighting @ 2:09 pm

Wow. This video from CNN (via Timbuktu Chronicles) shows the impact of sustainable lighting on communities that really need it due to limited resources. Evans Wadongo from Kenya has introduced solar-powered LED lights to rural families with no access to electricity. The money that they would have spent on kerosene for lamps can now be spent on food.

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This is a wonderful application of LED lights because they require so little energy to work, which the sun in Kenya can easily provide with minimal solar paneling. Now little kids there can study through the night and pursue higher education, and eventually give back even more to their communities. Green sustainable lighting WIN!


Repost: An LED That Mimics Old Standby / American Consumers Apparently Don’t Follow Lighting News June 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — greensustainablelighting @ 2:19 pm
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via the New York Times Green Blog:

In more sustainable design news, the New York Times Blog reports that Osram Sylvania has produced a new LED bulb (at right) that mimics the shape of a traditional Edison light bulb. The LEDs’ light emanates from the top, and they are supported by thick, arched heat sinks. It uses 12 Watts and is supposed to produce almost as much light as a standard 60-Watt lamp.

I have already mentioned that I prefer the modern look and functionality of an industrial LED light bulb (like the one at left), but I can see how one that can’t let go of old-fashioned lights could be “tricked” into buying this bulb. As someone who has worked with LED lights and knows a little bit about them, though, I can’t see how these heat sinks can be too effective. Usually they are composed of lots and lots of little ridges to increase surface area for heat dissipation; the chunky arches look like they minimize surface area. Anyway, I’m sure the heat sink on the Sylvania bulb works adequately, enough to be approved for sale. I’d probably just use oven mitts while replacing it.

The article goes on to make two more interesting points. First, it reveals another application for LED lighting: refrigerators used in retail. The lights in any refrigerator with a glass front are on 24/7, so there is a strong case for replacing the fluorescent tubes they typically use with more energy-efficient CFLs or, even better, LEDs. The lamps that you see in most refrigerators also generate considerable heat, with requires more work on the unit’s part because it needs to be cooled to maintain the proper temperature. This is where LEDs would again be extremely helpful, as they run a lot cooler than any other type of light bulb.

The most thought-provoking part of this article for me is related to the federal phase-out of inefficent lamps like incandescents. Though the lighting industry is working hard on developing marketable LED replacement bulbs, a survey of Sylvania customers revealed that 74% of them are unaware of the coming change. This is two years after Congress passed the bill for the phase-out. Rick Leaman, chief executive of Osram Sylvania, says he fears a backlash when consumers are unable to buy the old-fashioned bulbs they’re used to. He wants the government to start a campaign to raise awareness of the lighting revolution that the country is poised to see.

I guess I’m not surprised that three out of four Americans don’t know about the federal phase-out of the inefficient bulbs that are all around them. (Heck, according to the FCC, 80% of American broadband users [myself included] don’t know the speed of their own home broadband connections, which they also pay for and use.) I suppose I’m surprised that both the government and most light bulb manufacturers haven’t already taken the initiative to advertise the phase-out themselves.

When television was making the switch to digital, we saw tons of commercials warning viewers about it (albeit mostly paid for my digital cable companies), and the issue was also on the news a lot. It would make the US Department of Energy look good to show that they’re working on ways to help save the environment while maintaining quality of life for us. So I believe it’s on both the government and lamp sellers to publicize the phase-out which will effect the entire country. While I, for one, welcome our new LED overlords, it’s important for people of all backgrounds to understand what’s going on, process it, and think about what it has to do with sustainable living.


Bulled Light Bulb: Form Following Function June 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — greensustainablelighting @ 5:05 pm
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via design-aggregator:

An innovative new LED light bulb design by Jürgen Honold offers a sound compromise for people who embrace the LED lighting revolution and those who prefer the look of traditional bulbs. The Bulled light bulb is an 11 Watt LED replacement for a typical 60 Watt incandescent. Its LEDs are spaced out and built directly into the fins of the bulb-shaped heat sink. (The heat sink is where an LED bulb’s heat dissipates, leaving the light itself cool to the touch.)

image from

Personally, I think the heat sinks make LED light bulbs look edgy and cool. I’m glad this design integrates them into the overall look, rather than hide them. Honold’s design also offers a solution to someone who may be interested in LEDs for energy savings but wants a more radiant, rather than directional, light. The Bulled bulbs should be available on the market (in Europe, of course) by fall 2010.

The beauty in this design (for me, anyway) is how simple it is. If you see the problems people find in the LED bulb appearance, and know a little about how LED lights work, it’s easy to imagine something like this. (But not necessarily so easy to implement.) It makes me want to customize or commission my own LED light bulbs.


Melt Bulbs

Filed under: Uncategorized — greensustainablelighting @ 2:32 pm
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via Gizmodo:

Artist Keita Ogawa has won the bronze award at the 22nd Koizumi International Lighting Design Competition for Students with this quirky lamp design incorporating LED lights. keita ogawa melt bulbs LEDWaves LED lights

The melting effect serves as a reminder of our diminishing natural resources and urges viewers to consider sustainable energy. I love that Ogawa used energy-efficient LED lights for this design. Although I guess if he’d used actual Edison bulbs not only would that lessen the impact of his message, but they’d heat up and actually melt things!

Unfortunately this lamp is not for sale (yet), but I know I want one!


(Earth)Healthy Competition June 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — greensustainablelighting @ 4:29 pm
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According to CBS News, the average American consumes about 13,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year. (To put that into a little perspective, that’s twice the usage of an average person in England.) And 22% of that energy is devoted to lighting. Furthermore, Americans are also increasing their electricity usage by 30% a year.

To meet the growing demands of the country, the United States Department of Energy is sponsoring the L-Prize contest, which offers $10 million (and probably a lucrative federal buying deal) to whoever makes the most energy-efficient light bulb which creates the best light. LED light manufacturers are way ahead of the game, since LEDs use considerably less electricity than standard incandescents and burn way cooler. (95% of an incandescent bulb’s electricity usage generates heat; the resulting 5% creates light.)

philips led waves light bulb L-prize

image via

Philips has put forth the first submission to the L-Prize contest, with a bulb design that uses 80% less energy than an incandescent and half the energy of a CFL. At $40, it’s supposed to save homeowners $300-$600 on utilities and last up to ten years.

While I applaud the efforts of Philips, these specs aren’t exactly groundbreaking in the LED industry. I’m looking forward to seeing what innovations other companies produce, more in the name of sustainability and less for the $10 million cash prize.

via cbsnews


The Cost of Making Sustainability Affordable June 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — greensustainablelighting @ 9:15 pm

Right now is an exciting time for the LED industry. Huge companies like Osram Sylvania, Philips, and Lemnis Lighting are developing LED technology at a steady clip. They are falling all over each other to introduce new LED bulbs that boast maximum lumens using minimum wattage. This is a good thing.

Another good thing is that as these companies expand their technology and begin mass-manufacturing, they are able to lower prices. We have already seen significant drops: As recently as 2008, a 100-Watt equivalent dimmable LED bulb sold for about $360. I just did a quick web search which yielded the same product for $150.

Now that LED lamp manufacturers are basically whittling down pennies per lumen, utility companies will be in the position to give away LED bulbs. We can expect to see this happen when they get in the $20 range. This will be a very good thing.

Now, a not-so-good thing: These big lighting companies are in direct competition with each other, so they are cutting margins and lowering prices to gain market share. This is WalMart-style business strategizing: Sell products for less than they’re worth so that people buy from you and not from the mom-and-pop store that is trying to do little more than break even. Bring prices back up after the little guys are forced out of business.

Meanwhile, mergers and acquisitions are going down left and right. Over the past five years Philips has spent over $5.4 billion on snatching up smaller companies like LED specialist Color Kinetics. This is truly a high-stakes business. There are a lot of fascinating developments in the fast-paced world of LED lighting, so while you’re doing your comparison shopping please try to be mindful of the little guys. They need you as much as you need them.

via greentechmedia


Fast Food Joins the LED Revolution June 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — greensustainablelighting @ 2:46 pm
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Though I try to be as green as possible, I have to admit to getting the occasional hankering for greasy fast food. Every few months or so I become terribly cranky until I get my hands on a Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme doused in Fire Sauce, or the $1 McChicken (far superior to the more expensive chicken sandwiches McDonalds sells, IMO), and don’t get me started on the discontinued Burger King Angry Whopper. I promise I don’t succumb to these cravings very often, and whenever I do I feel terrible about myself and only eat vegetables for days.

That said, I applaud the efforts of several fast food franchises for their efforts to offset their (substantial) carbon emissions with sustainable design. A Burger King in Waghausel, Germany, has installed wind and solar power systems that are expected to reduce energy costs by about 45 percent and cut CO2 emissions by 120 metric tons a year. In addition, they’ve installed interior and exterior LED lights and are using alternative energy sources like waste heat to generate hot water.

mcdonalds LED light LEDWaves

This redesign is part of Burger King’s corporate responsibility program, BK Positive Steps. The company plans to continue with these projects at 75 other sites by the end of 2010.

Also on board with green initiatives is McDonalds. A restaurant in Orange, California collaborated with New York-based LEDWaves to roll out an eye-catching new LED lighting plan composed of neon rope lights and a Flex II track lighting system using LED MR-16 bulbs. This creates a fun, futuristic yet zen ambience that is also cost-efficient. The newly designed McDonalds noted a 25% increase in sales a month after opening!

mcdonalds LEDs LEDWaves

It’s uplifting to see these big franchises doing their part to help the planet. Now I won’t feel so bad about my next chicken nugget frenzy.

Via Greener Buildings and