Light bulb with 20-year life unveiled in US on Earth Day

Apr 22, 2012
A prize-winning, super energy saving LED bulb from Dutch electronics giant Philips, said to last over 20 years, went on sale online and in stores Sunday to coincide with Earth Day. The bulb that won the 2011 US Department of Energy's "Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize," was available from retailers for $50, and the company said it was planning discounts to bring the cost down to as little as $25-$30.

A prize-winning, super energy saving LED bulb from Dutch electronics giant Philips, said to last over 20 years, went on sale online and in stores Sunday to coincide with Earth Day.

The bulb that won the 2011 US Department of Energy's "Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize," was available from retailers for $50, and the company said it was planning discounts to bring the cost down to as little as $25-$30.

The 10-watt light bulb was deemed an efficient alternative to the standard 60-watt , and when used three hours a day, boasted an impressive 27.4 years maximum life span, the company said.

For consumers attentive to cost, Philips said the price tag was easily offset by of $165 over its lifetime.

"Because the new bulb is 83 percent more energy efficient than the standard 60-watt incandescent, consumers can now experience new savings for their pocketbooks," Philips' North America executive Ed Crawford said in announcing rebates.

International , now in its 42nd year, was celebrated by environmentalists Sunday seeking to bring attention to and pollution, and highlight ways to save energy.

President Barack Obama issued a US proclamation for the day to "reflect on the challenges that remain," and confront the "most urgent environmental issues and rallied around a single message: the success of future generations depends upon how we act today."

Explore further: Pollution top concern for U.S. and Canadian citizens around Great Lakes

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User comments : 44

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Eikka
2.6 / 5 (10) Apr 22, 2012
Usually when you say something is n% more, it means you take a number, multiply it by n percent, and add that to the original. So for example, if we have a hundred of something, and we add 50% more, we get 150.

Now, if we increase the efficiency of a bulb by 83%, it's the same as increasing its light output by 83% using the same power, which means that the new 10 Watt bulb doesn't produce as much light as a 60 Watt old bulb, but as much as a 20 Watt old bulb! If on the other hand, they mean increasing the efficiency by 83 percentage-points, then that would mean the new bulb is as good as 42.5 x 60 W bulbs, which doesn't make sense either.

So, what does 83 percent more efficient actually mean? What do the writers want it to mean? Does it actually mean anything, or is it just a bogus number thrown out there to impress the readers?

Also, as far as I've understood, the lifetime of a bulb isn't well defined. It can mean the point when half of the sample set has stopped shining.
Anorion
1 / 5 (1) Apr 22, 2012
well actual incandescent light bulb technology is over 100 years old
its good to some some new research in the domain. i just hope that at end we will get something better, long lasting, more efficient, not using rare elements like tungsten or some toxic stuff, more bright and if possible that emulate sunlight. not sure we can have all of that, but we cant know if we don't do research, right.
EWH
5 / 5 (4) Apr 22, 2012
This story is a repeat. Here's what I posted on the earlier story:
The actual news, from the lightingprize.org 60-watt replacement lab testing page:
Result: average of 200 bulbs
910 lumens
9.7 Watts
93.4 lumens/W
2727K color temperature
93 CRI

"With 95 percent confidence, lumen maintenance is predicted to be 99.3 percent at 25,000 hours." (7000 hours actual testing, 200 bulbs)

Color maintenance is nearly 7 times better than the prize requirement.

"stress testing consisted of a simultaneous combination of electrical, thermal, vibration, and humidity stresses which were increased over 14 stress levels. Tests were benchmarked against good-quality, commonly available 60W replacement compact fluorescent (CFL) lamps. Throughout the testing, photometric performance was conducted to assess any changes in performance as well as failures."
ALL the CFLs failed. NONE of the Phillips LED lamps failed. (!)
Brendan_Murphy
5 / 5 (4) Apr 22, 2012
@eikka: Where 83% comes from.

A 60 watt bulb outputs 850 lumens. The Phillips bulb outputs the same 850 lumens, but does it at 10 watts. The efficacy of a bulb is defined to be lumens per watt, so the incandescent bulb has efficacy 850/60 and the Phillips bulb has efficacy 850/10. It looks like they measured the relative error: (850/10-850/60)/(850/10) = 5/6 =.833333. You might just say that the efficacy of the Phillips bulbs is 6 times that of an 60 watt incandescent bulb.

Note: efficiency is just a scaling of efficacy, so the relative error is the same. (Sources = wiki pages for "incadescent light bulb" and "luminous efficacy")
EWH
5 / 5 (4) Apr 22, 2012
Eikka: the "83% more efficient" figure comes from:
relative efficiency = 1 - 9.7W/60W .
MorituriMax
1.8 / 5 (5) Apr 22, 2012
When they bring the price down to a 60-watt bulb I'll buy it.
Anorion
5 / 5 (4) Apr 22, 2012
When they bring the price down to a 60-watt bulb I'll buy it.

but if it least like 20 times longer than normal incandescent 60-watt bulb, i find it is normal that it also cost more. don't forget that if they last over 20 years, you will have to buy them just 1x or 2x times in your entire life.
Code_Warrior
3.3 / 5 (12) Apr 22, 2012
There's the rub - the actual lifetime. The lighting along one of our major roads was changed to LED for a 5 mile stretch (300 fixtures) and they have already had to replace more than 50% of them due to electrical surges and spikes that destroy the LED drivers. Up to now, the company that produced the lights is eating the replacement cost, but they are fighting that claiming that the road commission did not purchase the recommended surge suppressors.

I have had multiple CFL's fail at home due to overheated ballasts (charred and cracked base) after less than 1 year and I have a high quality whole house surge suppressor installed.

Bottom line, someone else can be the guinea pig on the LED lifetime issue. I don't believe that they will last 20 years - especially once the cost cutting starts. Philips - put your money where your mouth is and give a 20 year warranty. Maybe then I will consider buying them, but I'll be damned if I am going to repeat the CFL mistake again.
MorituriMax
2.3 / 5 (6) Apr 22, 2012
I don't consider something an improvement if it takes 20 years to recoup the cost. That's just smoke and mirrors. And especially when you have to use calculus to show that the output is the same.
ormondotvos
2.7 / 5 (7) Apr 22, 2012
@Eikka You sure spend a lot of time running down any sort of efficient product, be it windmills, lights or EVs. Are you being paid to do this?

Additionally, your statement above is full of errors, and I think they are there on purpose.

The bulb uses ten watts, and puts out as much light as a 60 watt incandescent, and has the same color range. Simple, if you aren't here to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
Gammakozy
1.8 / 5 (10) Apr 22, 2012
The Problem is that it is all a sham"
"What helped Philips win the $10 million L Prize? The best bulb? Definitely but it was hard not to have the best bulb in this category given the fact that no other company submitted a product for DOE review."
Shootist
1.3 / 5 (16) Apr 22, 2012
Again with the crony capitalism; brought to you by the Socialist-in-Green, Bark Obama (of dog eating fame).
NotParker
1.8 / 5 (16) Apr 22, 2012
"Philips said the price tag was easily offset ... "

... by not buying it.
Neurons_At_Work
5 / 5 (3) Apr 22, 2012
I would agree that the price point for these is not yet there, but I would consider it in applications where I would want an efficient bulb that was also dimmable. And I seem to be about the only one according to comments in articles like this who has gotten more than rated performance from all CFL's. I purchased a fairly large house in the Phoenix area in May of 2003, and promptly replaced 52 lights throughout the house--A19's, R30's, and R40's--with equivalent CFL's. I sold that house in July of last year. In that time I had lost 3 R-40's in the kitchen can lights, and maybe 4 spirals over my garage door that averaged 12 hours/day. Every other bulb, including all those outdoors, upside down in recessed lights, still were working great. None of them were 'dollar store' bulbs, however. They were whatever the main HD brand was at the time. If I were to do the math on the amount of money I'd saved in that time from the bulbs and reduced AC costs, well, I think they worked out darn well.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.7 / 5 (43) Apr 22, 2012
I too have gotten more than the rated performance from virtually all of the CFL bulbs that I have purchased.

On average they have lasted 6 years.

Some are now being replaced with LED bulbs. The CFL's they have replaced are waiting to be switched into service.

"I seem to be about the only one according to comments in articles like this who has gotten more than rated performance from all CFL's." - Neurons

The explanation is that some people are just anti-progress whiners.

Oscar Mayer Whiners.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.8 / 5 (46) Apr 22, 2012
And spending 5 times more on electricity that the cost of the replacement bulb?

"by not buying it." - ParkerTard

You can't get more Tard than Parker Tard.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.7 / 5 (44) Apr 22, 2012
Then wait for the cost to drop. The cost will probably descend before your testicles do.

"I don't consider something an improvement if it takes 20 years to recoup the cost." - Morit

The break even point is not 20 years Tard Boy, it is roughly at 1/3rd the lifetime of the bulb.

If you keep it turned off then it will never pay for itself.
If you keep it permanently lit then it will pay for itself in 1 year.
Sonhouse
5 / 5 (1) Apr 22, 2012
Personally I have lost a lot of spiral bulbs to power surges and the fact the local power company feeds us 122 volts power. That has to reduce the lifetime of any bulb, spiral, LED, incandescent, whatever. The answer for me is to install a buck boost transformer. That has its problems too. But what is the efficiency rating of these new LED's V spirals?

I think a bulb that would be 100 percent efficient would put out something like 200 lumen's per watt so the actual electron to photon efficiency would be less than 50% for these new LED's. I suspect that efficiency will rise with more development though. Incandescent bulbs like the 60 watt example would be about maybe 5 percent efficient so LED's are approaching more like 10 times the energy efficiency of tungsten bulbs. I would not be surprised to hear LED's come up to 70 odd percent efficient in the near future. At that point there would be real battle between spirals and LED's. The price would come down as production ramps up.
Duude
1.7 / 5 (11) Apr 22, 2012
The biggest issue I experienced when I first bought 'more efficient' bulbs was they didn't produce the light equivalent they claimed. Yes, they advertised X number of lumens of light but their lumens weren't producing the equivalent amount of light as my eyes would see. Add to that a higher price and a still unknown durability and I smell scam.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (8) Apr 22, 2012
Personally I have lost a lot of spiral bulbs to power surges and the fact the local power company feeds us 122 volts power. That has to reduce the lifetime of any bulb, spiral, LED, incandescent, whatever. The answer for me is to install a buck boost transformer. That has its problems too. But what is the efficiency rating of these new LED's V spirals?

Buy incandescent bulbs designed for 220VAC. You will need ~100W bulb for ~50W of output but the filaments should better handle surges. Also, you could look for industrial bulbs as now sold by newcandescent.com and made in the USA.
bulbs.com has 220V incandescents.
robbor
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 22, 2012
is it dimmable?
mrlewish
not rated yet Apr 22, 2012
Just an observation and some advise. If you have older city lines connecting to your house and older circuits/lines in your house you might want to avoid these along with CFLs due to the highly variable voltage (power surges) coming in which can dramatically shorten the lives of these bulbs. (you can have your true AMPs/voltage tested by professionals but they will think your crazy)
bluehigh
1 / 5 (7) Apr 22, 2012
for incandescents fit a diode inline. the pulsating DC gives half the light output and reduces elec consumption by 70%. use a 100 watt to get eqiv of 50 watt using just 15 watts. if available 200watt incandescent with a diode would be equiv 100 watt bulb running on 30 watts. lifetime is extended due to less heat stress for given construction. and going cheap at just 10 cents.
Code_Warrior
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 22, 2012
CFLs can last if you are in a clean power situation. I lit my basement with 12 el-cheapo shop fixtures ($4 ea). Within 1 year, the ballasts were charred dark brown and killing the lamps. I decided to buy some decent quality electronic ballasts on sale. I installed them in every fixture and re-lamped. That was 5 years ago. They are on 12hrs per day (we have an aviary in the basement) and I haven't had to replace a single tube since.

The problem is, the CFL's appear to use that same type of cheap ballast transformer. Package a high quality electronic ballast in the base of the CFL bulb, and maybe I would be happy with their performance.

This is what worries me about LED bulbs. Will they package high quality power supplies and LED drivers in the bulbs? Also, LED lamps are sensitive to ambient temperature. Turn off your AC to save energy during summer and possibly kill your LED bulbs? Depends on the quality of the electronics and the cooling. Very critical.
Kingsix
3.5 / 5 (4) Apr 22, 2012
A couple of things
Someone mentioned how the bulb was the only one submitted. Well yes, it was actually a tough challenge and no other company successfully met the requirements in time.

Someone said that they will buy them when they get as low in price as a 60W bulb. Well you may not have the option, well at least not to continue using incandescent bulbs. Many places are phasing them out and not allowing them to be sold any longer.

Keep one thing in mind when making a switch to LED bulbs. As code warrior mentions just above, LEDs are electronic devices, incandescents are an old technology. There will be cheaper options, but buy one of those and DO NOT expect the quality and life span of a major producer like Phillips.
Shakescene21
1 / 5 (6) Apr 23, 2012
I definitely plan to get one to see for myself. I guess it would be most suitable for a heavily-used application, especially if hooked to a dimmer switch.
Veneficus
2.5 / 5 (8) Apr 23, 2012
is it dimmable?


Yes, they are dimmable.

EWH already showed some real test results, which are even higher than the official specs, which are:

25.000 hours expected lifetime
20.000 switching cycles
806 lm average
2700 K
80 CRI

bluehigh
1.8 / 5 (10) Apr 23, 2012
Let me try understand. Its unlawful to sell incandescent light bulbs but tobacco and alcohol are good to go. Please explain.

What is the market price and availability of Chinese tungsten? A strategic market manipulation or good environmental policy? Is that mercury I see before my eyes?

US output of tungsten? Negligible.

Eikka
1.7 / 5 (7) Apr 23, 2012
@Eikka You sure spend a lot of time running down any sort of efficient product, be it windmills, lights or EVs. Are you being paid to do this?


If I was, I'd be rich because there's usually so much to complain about!

But, you might notice that I didn't attack the bulb. I attacked the article, and the way they use bogus numbers and math to give a specific impression. They're making slight of the intelligence of the readers.

It is correct to say the bulb uses 83% less energy, because it does, and incorrect to say that it's 83% more efficient because it isn't.

If you were to calculate how many percent more efficient it is, you'd actually get about 500% more efficiency, because the efficiency goes from something like 2% absolute efficiency to 12% which is roughly 90 lm/W, but someone probably thought it would sound fishy.

Additionally, your statement above is full of errors, and I think they are there on purpose.


Like what?

Eikka
1.5 / 5 (8) Apr 23, 2012
It looks like they measured the relative error: (850/10-850/60)/(850/10) = 5/6 =.833333.


The math is still wrong. 83% more is 1.8333.. or 11/6 and there's no way you can actually get that fraction out of the given facts.

The only reason it is there is because they wanted a number close to but not over 100% and to use the word "more" in conjuction with the word "efficient".

When I read technology news, I would expect to be presented with accurate and factual information - not advertisement brochure crap. It makes it very difficult to estimate the credibility of the article because the figures don't make any sense.
Eikka
1.3 / 5 (8) Apr 23, 2012
Someone mentioned how the bulb was the only one submitted. Well yes, it was actually a tough challenge and no other company successfully met the requirements in time.


It might be explained by the fact that the others were trying with just LEDs or just CFLs while Philips actually did a hybrid solution.

You see, the yellow patches around the bulb are actually fluorescent plastic, and the LEDs inside are producing only red and blue light which pass through this plastic diffuser and make it glow in green and yellow to add to the color. That also explains the good CRI of the bulb, because the fluorescent material has a wide emission band compared to just LEDs.

Performance wise, it is actually on par with high-CRI high efficiency T5 fluorescent tubes, presumably becuse it uses pretty much the same materials.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Apr 23, 2012
Let me try understand. Its unlawful to sell incandescent light bulbs but tobacco and alcohol are good to go. Please explain.

There's a company in germany that is trying to sell the old light bulbs as 'heatballs' (i.e. "high efficiency micro heating elements that produce, as a waste product, light"). Started off as a way to show how stupid the EG law is. Currently the issue is being looked into by the courts.

As for the submitted lightbulb by Phillips. I think the price tag is really not merited. LEDs and the electronics involved are dirt cheap. There are no expensive materials or manufacturing steps involved. the production cost of one of these is less than a dollar.

Yes, I understand research cost have to be covered. But 50 dollars is just insanely overpriced. They could sell these at 5 dollars and make a handsome profit.
PPihkala
1 / 5 (1) Apr 23, 2012
As for the submitted lightbulb by Phillips. I think the price tag is really not merited. LEDs and the electronics involved are dirt cheap. There are no expensive materials or manufacturing steps involved. the production cost of one of these is less than a dollar.

I bet they have had to build a manufacturing line for these bulbs. Or maybe even multiple ones. Just ask yourself at what price you would sell these bulbs if you would be manufacturing them?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Apr 23, 2012
I bet they have had to build a manufacturing line for these bulbs. Or maybe even multiple ones. Just ask yourself at what price you would sell these bulbs if you would be manufacturing them?

As high as I could because demand will, initially, far outweigh supply - especially since we're talking about a virtual monopoly. That's the point. Everyone knows this, so people won't buy them until the price comes down. (Companies will be the only ones to buy this at first). For 'capitalism as usual' this is fine.
But this time there are ulterior motives, here: We need to get as many people to switch over as fast as possible. The aim of switching over is not served by going full-tilt capitalist on this.
BikeToAustralia
1 / 5 (3) Apr 23, 2012
Flaming each other will not provide illumination or enlightenment. In fact, it puts YOU in a a poorer light than THEM.
lighthouse10
3.5 / 5 (2) Apr 23, 2012
The truth about the Philips LED Prize bulb, and how Philips won the US Govmt prize for it:
http://dunday.com...ful.html

The lobbying, the evading of rules, the poor quality of the bulb on testing - as referenced with competition rules, patents, lobbying finance records, the prize committee's own lab test document etc
rubberman
2 / 5 (8) Apr 24, 2012
Not a chance that any more than 1 in every 5 sold lasts for the 20 years. They haven't tested it for 20 years under ideal lab conditions for starters, let alone the multitude of working environments they will be installed in. Used in a table lamp that has an open shade and the base is down will be the best performer, the worst will be an enclosed outdoor fixture as the heat and cold extremes (repeated expansion and contraction) will wreak havoc on the solid state electronics housed in the base that are required to convert the 120v AC to something useable by LED's. I love "green" stuff and applaud any innovation that will help reduce our impact on the environment, this one will have to prove itself and at 50 bucks a pop it isn't likely to get a chance to.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (2) Apr 24, 2012
Not a chance that any more than 1 in every 5 sold lasts for the 20 years.

I'm really not so sure about that (neither about the purported longevity of cheap knockoffs). When the CFL bulbs started being marketed I bought 9 cheap ones (back then average lifetime was supposed to be around 10 years).
That was 15 years ago. One of them has burned out since then. The rest I replaced this year because their luminosity had diminished to the point where it was noticeable.

LEDs are also something you can't really 'burn out'. So I'm not too pessimistic about them having the lifetime advertised.

The 165$ over a lifetime savings is to be taken cum grano salis, though. 165$ now are a tidy sum. 20 years from now? Not so much - even assuming only regular inflation.
lighthouse10
3 / 5 (2) Apr 24, 2012
Re Earth Day launch:
Saving energy is good - but the usual "change your bulbs" suggestion is a bit misplaced.
Effectively the same coal gets burned at night regardless of whether
your light bulbs are on or off - because of the way slow base loading and day calibrated coal plants work.
Just one of the fallacies behind the supposed energy
savings from banning simple incandescent light bulbs, and the energy saving is hardly there anyway, a fraction of 1% on US Dept of Energy stats, referenced (ceolas.net/#li171x)
lighthouse10
3 / 5 (2) Apr 24, 2012
I bet they have had to build a manufacturing line for these bulbs. Or maybe even multiple ones. Just ask yourself at what price you would sell these bulbs if you would be manufacturing them?

..... this time there are ulterior motives, here: We need to get as many people to switch over as fast as possible. The aim of switching over is not served by going full-tilt capitalist on this.


Why did GE, Philips and Osram/Sylvania light bulb manufacturers all seek and welcome the ban, in the USA and the EU, on simple cheap unprofitable PATENT-EXPIRED bulbs that anyone can make (ceolas.net/#li1ax)?
Would you welcome being told what you can or can't make?
If so - Why? :-)
antialias_physorg
4.5 / 5 (2) Apr 24, 2012
Effectively the same coal gets burned at night regardless of whether
your light bulbs are on or off - because of the way slow base loading and day calibrated coal plants work.

If coal enery use goes down because of better efficiency lightbulbs then the load plans of power plants will follow. Overproduction leads to cheaper price of the energy on the market (i.e. less profit). That's what load plans are there for. So in a very short time the amount of coal being burned will diminish.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.3 / 5 (37) Apr 24, 2012
No thinking individual cares since incandescent lamps are so massively inefficient.

"Why did GE, Philips and Osram/Sylvania light bulb manufacturers all seek and welcome the ban, in the USA and the EU, on simple cheap unprofitable PATENT-EXPIRED bulbs that anyone can make (ceolas.net/#li1ax)?" - LightHeaded
kabdwal
1 / 5 (1) Apr 28, 2012
although its a great invention but it costs very much...,most of the the people would like to just see it rather than buying it, phlips must come with its economic and user friendly version soon...
thermodynamics
3 / 5 (2) Apr 28, 2012
I just bought 5 of the new bulbs from Home Depot for $10 each. I am going to give them a try as my incandescents and cfls die. I figure the best way to see if they work is to try them. I have three others in the house but they were about $25 each (from Phillips and another vendor). I lose a few old bulbs each year so this will let me see how they work over time. The color seems to be good to me but that will vary with the eyes looking at things.

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