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.