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 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.