Nothing is so alarming than a government mandate to force you to do something. The latest Energy Bill out of the U.S. Congress and signed by the President does just that – cancels the availability of the familiar incandescent bulb and for the most part consigns them to the junk bin of history.

Right off you have already guessed that its going to cost a lot more to buy the new bulbs than the old ones with the idea you’ll get the money back over time in savings of electricity. This is a truth, but not a fact as the Internet has lots of sites and posts about junk high efficiency bulbs that last a very short period of time making them a huge cost compared to the savings. There is nothing like mandates from the government to waste your money and open the door to the bandits.

With that thought still fresh, the fact remains that a good high efficiency bulb can save you money over time. So, before you join the rush to stockpile the old incandescent bulbs lets look into the facts.

If you’re like me and don’t see things as well with fluorescent light the future isn’t looking good short term. The compact fluorescent bulb is much the same as the old tubes with frequency issues and color temperature problems. The global market place has also encouraged manufacturers from all over the world to sell dubious and poor quality examples to the unsuspecting public. As a personal example I have a pair in the garage that are no where near as luminous as the bulbs they replaced and as the weather cools and the garage cools too, they may as well not be on as a glow in the dark effect isn’t the idea. So there is a very long way to go.


There is also the issue that you really don’t want to break one inside the home as the mercury concentration in the immediate vicinity isn’t healthy at all. If it has to be compact fluorescent, well, I’m a stockpiler.

The Light Emitting Diode or LED is a wholly different character. An LED emits light based solely on the electrons moving in a semiconductor material. They generate very little heat and draw low current. They also do not put out much light yet. To go on Google and search “LED” you will find they are small, output is low and they are expensive so far.

On the other hand, LEDs have advantages.


With no filament burning they don’t “burn out” or generate anything like the level of heat loss. The materials used in the semiconductor can also be tuned to emit ranges as more red light or more blue light. And for me and many of you, the frequency jitter is missing. Whew.

While writing the past two day’s posts and coming across CREE, Inc in North Carolina I found these items from a survey they had done while at the Hong Kong Lighting Industry Trade Show. The survey was done with industry attendees that the survey finds – over 72% have LED growth over 20% in the past 6 months, 63% expect LED will comprise over 50% of their sales or installations by 2009 and the growth is thought to be coming from street/parking lots 20%, indoor home 17%, retail and display 17% and offices at 15%.

The effect of using the latest LEDs looks OK, I guess I can tolerate the difference in the way things will look. From my limited experience with automotive and flashlight uses I’m satisfied. The folks at CREE offer that the newest advances offer much more pleasing effects, I’m encouraged. But by no means am I content with the act of Congress for jumping the gun and stuffing this down our throats. I have made my thoughts clear by email to two Senators and a representative. There isn’t any real large cause for alarm about incandescent lighting and the fuel they require to generate electricity. The global warming thing is the driver to such an irresponsible act by those in power to answer that squeaks of a few by harming the many.

But the price points for LEDs are extreme for now. Nor have I experienced the shear relief of a good halogen for reading by any LED yet. That makes this fact check a very disappointed thumbs down for alternative lighting products for now. I reserve the right to change my mind as LEDs get better and the prices come down to reason.

And yup. I’m stockpiled (some, not a huge amount) already.

Incandescent Bulb


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