The federal phase-out of the traditional incandescent bulb won’t go into effect until 2012, but already the market is starting to shift. Yesterday, I went to my local Walgreens to pick up a replacement appliance bulb for my refrigerator, and was shocked to see that the top three shelves of the light bulb section were stocked with compact fluorescents (CFLs); only a few incandescent stragglers lingered on the bottom shelf.
This is great news for the environment (CFLs offer a 75 percent reduction in energy consumption), but not for my vanity. I replaced all the bulbs in my apartment with fluorescents years ago, of course, but I still cringe every time I catch a glimpse of my yellow-tinged skin in the hallway mirror. There are those who claim that decent CFLs do exist, but I have yet to find one.
But at long last, a truly flattering energy-efficient bulb may be making its way to a drugstore near you. GE announced yesterday that its 40-watt replacement Energy Smart LED bulb will be available late this year or in early 2011. The staggering sustainability stats: The lamp-style bulb will consume a mere 9 watts, provide a 77 percent energy savings over incandescents, and last 17 years. And, unlike a CFL, the GE bulb will contain no mercury.
The expected price tag of $40 to $50 may make some customers balk, but considering that one bulb could “light your kid’s bedroom desk lamp from birth through high school graduation” (or so the press release boasts), consumers are just going to have to start thinking a little more long-term when it comes to their finances. And the planet.Link