Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Back to the future? Behold, the wooden light bulb!

  • Japanese designer develops a wooden light bulb
  • It's an LED bulb completely encased in a super-thin wooden shell created using a traditional Japanese craft technique
Editor's Note: Matt Hickman is a writer for Mother Nature Network. His article originally appeared here.
Marrying traditional Japanese craft techniques and energy-efficient lighting technology, designer Ryosuke Fukusada created an LED bulb wrapped in a thin wooden shell that, yep, glows.
The Wooden Light Bulb -- to be clear, it did not show as part of ICFF/NY Design Week -- is actually an LED bulb completely encased in a super-thin wooden shell that Fukusada created using a traditional Japanese craft technique called Rokuro. The fixture’s incandescent-shaped body is chipped so thin -- it does, however, appear to be solid like (Italian designer Mauro) Savoldi's wooden bulbs when turned off -- that when the lamp is switched on, it does indeed glow from within. Magical!
Boasting an aluminum base, the Wooden Light Bulb is totally safe (although probably not that practical for actual lighting purposes) as LEDs, unlike incandescents, produce a very small amount of heat. So not to worry folks, the bulb isn't a nightmarish, dangling fireball in disguise.
Again, the Wooden Light Bulb  is still in the prototype stages, although according to Fukusada's website it's being further developed so perhaps someday you'll be able to own one yourself (I can picture Starbucks stores snatching these up by the truckload). For now, you'll just have to settle for this.

Source: HLNTV

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The History of Incandescent Light Bulbs

Did you know that Thomas Edison did not create the incandescent light bulb, but he only modified the invention to create it better? Check out this timeline.

1809 - Humphry Davy, an English chemist, invented the first electric light. Davy connected two wires to a battery and attached a charcoal strip betwween the other ends of the wires. The charged carbon glowed making the first arc lamp.

1820 - Warren De la Rue enclosed a platinum coil in an evacuated tube and passed an electric current through it. His lamp design was worked but the cost of the precious metal platinum made this an impossible invention for wide-spread use.

1835 - James Bowman Lindsay demonstrated constant electric lighting system using a prototype lightbulb.

1850 - Edward Shepard invented an electrical incandescent arc lamp using a charcoal filament. Joseph Wilson Swan started working with carbonized paper filaments the same year.

1854 - Henricg Globel, a German watchmaker, invented the first true lightbulb. He used a carbonized bamboo filament placed inside a glass bulb.

1875 - Herman Sprengel invented the mercury vacuum pump making it possible to develop a practical electric light bulb. Making a really good vacuum inside the bulb possible.
1875 - Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans patented a lightbulb.

1878 - Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (1828-1914), an English physicist, was the first person to invent a practical and longer-lasting electric lightbulb (13.5 hours). Swan used a carbon fiber filament derived from cotton.

1879 - Thomas Alva Edison invented a carbon filament that burned for forty hours. Edison placed his filament in an oxygenless bulb. (Edison evolved his designs for the lightbulb based on the 1875 patent he purchased from inventors, Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans.)

1880 - Edison continued to improved his lightbulb until it could last for over 1200 hours using a bamboo-derived filament.

1903 - Willis Whitnew invented a filament that would not make the inside of a lightbulb turn dark. It was a metal-coated carbon filament (a predecessor to the tungsten filament).

1906 - The General Electric Company were the first to patent a method of making tungsten filaments for use in incandesent lightbulbs. The filaments were costly.

1910 - William David Coolidge (1873-1975) invented an improved method of making tungsten filaments. The tungsten filament outlasted all other types of filaments and Coolidge made the costs practical.

1925 - The first frosted lightbulbs were produced.

1991 - Philips invented a lightbulb that lasts 60,000 hours. The bulb uses magnetic induction.

Source: About Inventors

Monday, May 7, 2012

What you need to know about the Philips L-Prize

Just when you thought all was quiet on the light bulb front, along comes another spoon of outrage to stir the pot. The latest trouble bubbled up last week with an article in the Washington Postunder the rather overheated headline “Government-subsidized green light bulb carries costly price tag.” Things went quickly downhill from there as a slew of right-leaning blogs flogged the meme of a $10 million government investment in a light bulb that the article claimed would retail for $50, far beyond a realistic price for the general consumer market.
Things got so bad so quickly that Philips, manufacturer of the now-infamous “green light bulb” was compelled to issue a press release last Friday to defend both itself and the Department of Energy, which did indeed put up $10 million for its Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize (aka L Prize), which was designed to spur private sector investment in high-efficiency lighting technology.
So, did we really pay $10 million and all we got was this lousy $50 light bulb?
The truth about the $50 light bulb
In a word, no.
Philips states that the actual retail price of its prizewinning bulb will be closer to $20, comfortably within the L Prize requirement of $22. That’s because the bulb will be sold through partnerships with utility companies, which will offer up to $30 in rebates.
As of last summer, when Philips was announced as the L Prize winner, the Department of Energy already had 31 utilities and other partners lined up to participate in the rebate program.
How a $50 light bulb saves you money
Philips also states that even without the rebate, the lifetime cost of its new bulb is only $82 compared to $213 for a conventional incandescent bulb, based on an electricity rate of 11 cents per kilowatt hour.
The sticky wicket is that incandescent technology is so cheap and simple, we are used to treating light bulbs like we treat disposable paper cups. At the $20 price point, advanced-technology light bulbs need to be viewed more like minor household appliances, like a clock or a blender, that are worth packing up and taking with you when you move.
Calculating the true lifetime cost of Philips’s new light bulb
In a detailed analysis of the Washington Post article, Brad Johnson of Think Progress points out that an earlier version contained no textual analysis of lifetime costs, only an infographic based on “extremely wrong” calculations. The infographic was later stripped from the article without explanation and replaced with more accurate information.
Philips’s new bulb is a 60-watt equivalent LED (light emitting diode) that uses only 10 watts, and it has a life cycle of 30,000 hours as demonstrated through extensive testing during the L Prize process. According to the Department of Energy, the typical lifespan of an incandescent bulb is only 1,000 hours.
Why such a fuss over light bulbs?
As for why a high-tech light bulb would send so many pundits into a tizzy, that goes back to last year, when legislators and thought leaders in the Republican Party tried to leverage new federal energy efficiency standards for light bulbs as a political wedge issue.
The­­­ new standards – which were signed into law by President Bush – began to phase in as scheduled on January 1 with barely a ripple of protest by actual consumers, so it looks like the L Prize is the next logical target for outrage – although, in the context of the $4 billion in annual subsidies that President Obama is fond of ascribing to the oil industry, $10 million to develop beneficial energy-related technology is small potatoes.
The benefits of a $10 million light bulb
Despite its dinky size in relation to other energy-related subsidies, the L Prize could have a significant impact on the U.S. energy landscape. The Department of Energy estimates that lighting sucks up about 18 percent of total U.S. electricity generation, so lighting is a logical target for an energy efficiency makeover, which in the case of incandescent light bulbs is sorely needed.
The century-old incandescent technology uses about 10 percent of its energy for light while cranking out the other 90 percent in the form of heat, which adds insult to injury by dumping an extra demand on air conditioning systems.
If widely adopted, high-efficiency lighting like the new Philips bulb could result in significant direct savings for individual households, as well as indirect savings related to a reduced demand for more power plants.
Energy-efficient lighting could also help more households meet their full energy demand with alternative sources, namely photovoltaic installations. With more households generating their own energy on site, the need to construct large centralized power plants is further reduced.
Green bulbs, green jobs
Demand for the new bulb would also help boost job creation in the U.S., since one condition of the L Prize is a U.S. manufacturing base.
Somewhat repetitively, that puts right-wing criticism of Philips’s new bulb in or near the same U.S. job-bashing category as the recent slagging of GM’s Chevy Volt. None other than the notorious Rush Limbaugh has called the Volt practically everything but “slut,” though it is manufactured in Detroit).
More and better green light bulbs
Meanwhile, undeterred by all the brouhaha over the Philips bulb, last week the Department of Energy announced that it is forging ahead with the next phase of the L Prize Competition. The new phase is designed to spur the development of high efficiency LED replacements for spotlights and floodlights commonly used in retail stores and track lighting as well as outdoor security lights.

Source: TriplePunDit

Thursday, May 3, 2012

BulbAmerica Becomes the Exclusive Retailer of Platinum Light Bulbs in North America

Quote startBulbAmerica has reached a point that allows them to offer Same-Day Free Shipping. With an exhaustive inventory of over 18,750 available items and a customer base of 150,000+, the company has achieved several milestones.Quote end

The leading wholesale retailer of quality lighting fixtures and light bulbs, BulbAmericais the exclusive online retailer of the Platinum light bulb line in North America.

America’s leading wholesale retailer of lighting products and fixtures, BulbAmerica, a Google Trusted Store, is now happy to announce becoming the exclusive North American retailer for the high end Platinum Light Bulb line.

Having been a part of the industry for almost a decade, the largest provider of quality lighting fixtures and light bulbs in the United States stocks large quantities of LEDCFLsHalogenincandescent bulbs, projector lamps, and various LED lighting options including LED strips. The user friendly and highly optimized website ensures that visitors enjoy an unparalleled online product browsing experience through quick page loads and a single step checkout that allows visitors to find exactly what they need and have it shipped out in minutes.

A lighting expert at explains, “With an exhaustive inventory of over 18,750 items available for shipment every business day and a customer base of 150,000+, the company has achieved several milestones.” Adding that “As an exclusive provider of the Platinum Light Bulbs product line, BulbAmerica has carved a niche for itself in the industry."

All orders that are in stock are shipped the same day as long as they are received by 5 pm. The entire shopping experience is richer and unique due to the dedication, commitment, and quality of their team. BulbAmerica offers the best turnaround and delivery time in the industry across all categories of lighting products and fixtures.

Renowned for the most competitive pricing in the market, the entire range of Platinum Light Bulbs are available in different shapes, wattages, voltages, bases, and beam spreads, and color temperature that can all easily be sorted using the product sorting feature that is seamlessly integrated into the website. Currently, the company is offering free shipping for over 100 different products from Platinum across the stage lighting, light bulbs, and LED lighting product categories.

Since the companies inception in 2003, BulbAmerica has been offering their customers cost effective and quality controlled products that include fluorescent, halogen light, LED, CFL, and incandescent bulbs, projector lamps, and various LED lighting options.

For more information about the light bulbs and lighting solutions that they offer at BulbAmerica or to inquire about the Platinum Light Bulbs product line that is available exclusively at their online store, visit or call 1-877-650-0775.

Source: PR Web

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Earth Day: Would you buy a $60 energy-efficient light bulb?

Earth Day 2012 arrives with sticker shock: Brace yourself for the $60 light bulb.

Light bulb manufacturer Philips is flipping the switch Sunday on its new super-duper energy-efficient LED light bulb; that's when the bulb will go on sale at various outlets. The full retail price is $60, but consumers will be able to find online deals, rebates and subsidies that will cut the price by $10 or more, according to the Associated Press.
Proponents of the new light bulb, which can reportedly last up to 10 years or more, say it will ultimately save consumers money because they won’t have to replace nearly as many light bulbs over time. 
Philips says the bulb will also save plenty of energy: It consumes less than 10 watts to produce light that is the equivalent of a 60-watt incandescent bulb, saving 83% of energy in the process. The company says that if every household in the U.S. used the new bulbs instead of regular 60-watt bulbs, the nation could avoid 20 million metric tons of carbon emissions.
"That’s enough electricity to power the lights of nearly 18 million U.S. households, or nearly triple the annual electricity consumption of the city of Washington D.C.," a company fact sheet says.
That might make the price tag a little easier to swallow.

Still, the light bulb is not for every budget. points out that the average U.S. home uses 45 light bulbs, so replacing all of them would run $2,250. To quote "Yikes."

The light bulb's release is the result of "the L Prize," a $10-million contract awarded by Congress in 2007 to the manufacturer who could find a way to replace the regular ol' light bulb, which is an energy suck. Philips won the contest by a landslide. (The AP notes that Philips "was the only entrant.")

The unveiling of the new LED bulb is just one of many events marking Earth Day this weekend.

Beach and park clean-ups are slated from coast to coast, and there's no shortage of rallies and festivals celebrating Mother Earth. One of the biggest events will be Sunday's rally from noon to 7 p.m. on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., with entertainment by Cheap Trick, and an address by the Rev. Jesse Jacksonamong others.

The first Earth Day was reportedly held in 1970 in San Francisco. Since then, it has turned into a world-wide celebration. The official website says that more than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each April 22, "making it the largest civic observance in the world."

Source: LA Times