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America’s most common light bulb gets LED replacement May 28, 2010

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America’s most common light bulb gets LED replacement

 

Consumers will soon be able to replace the most common light bulb in U.S. households, the 60-watt incandescent, with an ultra-efficient LED, according to manufacturer Royal Philips Electronics.

This new 12-watt Philips LED light bulb, available to consumers later this year, will be able to replace 60-watt incandescents, the most commonly used light bulb in U.S. households.
By Royal Philips Electronics

 

The company unveiled its new LED at the Lightfair International trade show in Las Vegas, just two days after Home Depot announced it’s begun selling a $20 LED replacement for the 40-watt incandescent.

As incandescents begin their Congress-mandated phaseout in 2012, companies are scurrying to develop and market more efficient replacements.

Philips says its 12-watt Endura light bulb is the industry’s first to replace its century-old predecessor. The company says the LED delivers the same soft white light and dimmability but uses 80% less energy and lasts 25 times longer. The LED will be available to consumers later this year, likely in December, but its price hasn’t been finalized.

More than 425 million 60-watt incandescents are sold each in the United States, representing half the domestic incandescent market, according to Philips. The company estimates its new LED has the potential to save 32.6 terawatt-hours of electricity each year — enough to power the lights of 14% of U.S. households.

GE makes LED replacement for 40-watt bulb April 12, 2010

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GE makes LED replacement for incandescent

Zoinks!  LED’s are back in the news ! Check out the article below!

General Electric, the granddaddy of light bulbs, has developed an LED replacement for 40-watt bulbs that can last for 17 years. GE on Thursday unveiled the Energy Smart LED bulb that puts out 450 lumens–about the same output as a 40-watt incandescent–while consuming 9 watts. GE’s bulb is designed to disperse light more evenly than typical LED lights. (Credit: General Electric) The company plans to show off the LED bulb at upcoming lighting conferences and to start selling it by this fall or early next year. It ios expected to cost $40 to $50. LED lights tend to give off light in a specific direction, which is why they are often used for spot lighting. The GE light has a shape that looks like fingers wrapped around a traditional bulb and is designed to disperse light. Prototypes of the bulb will be fitted with an LED lamp from LED component manufacturer Cree. The bulb is rated for 25,000 hours which, if used four hours a day, means it will last for 17 years. The other advantages of LED bulbs are that they don’t need to warm up to give off full light, are cooler than incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs, and do not contain mercury. “This is a bulb that can virtually light your kid’s bedroom desk lamp from birth through high school graduation,” John Strainic, global product general manager of GE Lighting, said in a statement. He added that the bulb is designed to satisfy consumers who are reluctant to move from incandescent bulbs because they like the light quality. Because of their relative energy efficiency and durability, LED lights are expected to start replacing other technologies more rapidly this year, particularly in commercial settings. As LEDs reach the output of 40-watt and 60-watt incandescent, lighting companies are also planning general-purpose LED replacements for traditional screw-in bulbs. Osram Sylvania, for example, plans to introduce an LED replacement for a 60-watt incandescent this spring. The high up-front cost, however, remains a barrier to broader adoption. Lighting manufacturers expect that sales will be driven by consumers’ interest in efficient, long-lasting bulbs and by more stringent national efficiency standards.

New LED Traffic Lights Too Cool.. and thats not cool December 21, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Controversial information, LED Lights.
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Zoinks! LEDs have been all the rage as of lately but seems some applications are working out so smoothly. Check out this article from the Detroit Times that discusses the danger of LED traffic signal lamps.

Dr. Z

https://www.zbulbs.com

New traffic lights too cool
They save energy but emit less heat, so snow may block signal
Tom Greenwood / The Detroit News
Some northern states are reporting a problem with light-emitting diode traffic lights: The cool burning LEDs don’t generate enough heat to melt ice and snow that accumulates in front of the lenses on the signals.

Although there are no LED-related reports of crashes or deaths in Michigan, the problem has reportedly led to dozens of accidents in other states.

But the situation is still being addressed, said Utpal Dutta, professor of traffic engineering at the University of Detroit Mercy.

“We are working on the problem,” Dutta said. “We may put a longer shade on the light to shield it from ice and snow, but we’re not sure about putting a heater into the light. A heater would cost us money to run the lights, which we don’t want to do.

“But we will come up with something down the line. In terms of energy and life cycle savings of LEDs, this is a tiny problem.”

On the rare occasion when an LED signal is covered with snow, responding work crews simply clear it with a blast of compressed air.

Longer lasting lights
Road Commission for Oakland County spokesman Craig Bryson said LEDs are still better than traditional lights because they need to be replaced only once every seven years.

“There were a lot more times where there were traffic signals with burned-out bulbs than there are signals with snowy LEDs,” Bryson said.

The LEDs used in traffic signals aren’t really a single bulb but are actually arrays of hundreds of individual electronic lights about the size of a pencil eraser.

The appeal of the lights is that they use up to 90 percent less energy, last longer and burn brighter than traditional bulbs.

For Franklin residents George and Madeline Haddad, snow on LED traffic lights hasn’t been a problem.

“We’ve never encountered that problem when we’re on the road, and it really isn’t something I’m worried about,” George Haddad said. “I can’t ever remember seeing traffic signals blocked by ice and snow.”

Bryson said a number of circumstances have to merge for the LEDs to be obstructed by ice or snow.

“The wind has to blow at a certain speed and a certain angle to end up in against the lens,” he said. “Plus the snow has to be wet and heavy. This problem happened with the old bulbs as well.”

Cost only factor in switching
William Taylor, professor emeritus of civil engineering at Michigan State University, understands how the LEDs can be driving problem in snowy weather.

“It kind of makes sense that they could cause a snow problem because they’re so efficient that it doesn’t make all that much heat,” Taylor said.

“But should we switch back to the old incandescent bulbs? Only if it eventually costs more for crews to clean off the LED lights than they would save in energy costs.”

LED traffic signals are common on the MSU campus, Taylor said.

“But as a driver, I’ve never noticed any problems with them,” he said.

Are You Dreaming of A Green Xmas? LED Christmas Lights are 10 more efficient! November 30, 2009

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Zoinks! Even Santa is getting the LED out!

Its the Holiday Season and running those Christmas Lights can really jack up your energy costs.. A great solution for this is changing for traditional (incandescent) Christmas lights to LED Christmas lights.

Cherie Jacobs, a Progress Energy spokeswoman, says:

Running 10 strands of 100 LED light bulbs during evenings for the month of December will cost about 70 cents.

• Running 10 strands of 100 conventional light bulbs during evenings for the month of December will cost about $7 — 10 times as much.

The Electric Power Research Institute says if seasonal lights nationwide were replaced with LED lighting, carbon emissions could be reduced by as much as 400,000 tons per year and electricity cost savings would exceed $250 million.

 

https://www.zbulbs.com/

 

Dr. Z

 

Thanks to By Ivan Penn, Times Staff Writer for the info

http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/daily-qampa-how-much-does-it-cost-to-light-up-house-for-holidays/1055281

“LED Bulbs Save Substantial Energy, a Study Finds” A New York Times Article November 30, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in LED Lights, light bulb, Light bulbs in pop culture.
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Soon Uncle Fester May Not Have To Work So Hard To Keep That Light Bulb Lit!

Zoinks! Its me Dr. Z! LED’s are all the rage in lighting and now the New York Times is running another article on their energy saving benefits..Dig this article!

Dr. Z

https://www.zbulbs.com/

 

By ERIC. A. TAUB
Published: November 29, 2009
Does the latest generation of energy-saving light bulbs save energy? A comprehensive study conducted by Osram, the German lighting company, provides evidence that they do.

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Rick Friedman for The New York Times
A standard incandescent bulb over its life will use almost five times the energy of an LED bulb, a German study concluded.

That is because no one knew if the production of LED lamps required more energy than needed for standard incandescent bulbs. While it is indisputable that LEDs use a fraction of the electricity of a regular bulb to create the same amount of light, if more energy were used in the manufacturing and distribution process, then the lighting industry could be traveling down a technological dead end.

The study results show that over the entire life of the bulb — from manufacturing to disposal — the energy used for incandescent bulbs is almost five times that used for compact fluorescents and LED lamps.

The energy used during the manufacturing phase of all lamps is insignificant — less than 2 percent of the total. Given that both compact fluorescents and LEDs use about 20 percent of the electricity needed to create the same amount of light as a standard incandescent, both lighting technologies put incandescents to shame.

“We welcome these kinds of studies,” said Kaj den Daas, chief executive of Philips Lighting North America. The Osram study “provides facts where we often have only emotional evidence.” Philips recently became the first entrant in the Energy Department’s L Prize, a race to develop the first practical 60-watt LED equivalent to a standard light bulb.

To calculate what is know as a Life Cycle Assessment of LED lamps, Osram compared nearly every aspect of the manufacturing process, including the energy used in manufacturing the lamps in Asia and Europe, packaging them, and transporting them to Germany where they would be sold. It also looked at the emissions created in each stage, and calculated the effect of six different global warming indexes.

Those included the amount of greenhouse gas emissions created by each process, the acid rain potential, eutrophication (excessive algae), photochemical ozone creation, the release of harmful chemical compounds, and the resultant scarcity of gas, coal, and oil.

Compact fluorescents also contain harmful mercury, which can pollute the soil when discarded.

In addition to the amount of electricity needed for each process, the energy used and the emissions created as a result, were also calculated. In China and Malaysia, where part of the LED production took place, that meant coal and natural gas respectively. In Germany, where the lamps would be sold, electricity is created from a mix of coal, nuclear and renewable sources.

The methodology followed the procedures set down in ISO 14040/44, an industry standard. The results were certified by three university professors in Denmark and Germany as adhering to the standard.

“The difference in energy use between incandescents, compact fluorescents and LEDs is definitely significant,” said Dr. Matthias Finkbeiner of Berlin’s Technical University and chairman of the study’s review committee. “The results are very stable.”

While 60-watt lamps are more popular light sources, they were not used in the study as Osram does not yet have a commercial version. The amount of energy used to illuminate 60-watt-type lamps would increase, but the increase would effect all types of lamps and therefore not change the relative results, according to Dr. Berit Wessler, head of innovations management at Osram Opto Semiconductors in Regensburg, Germany.

Dr. Wessler expects the results to shift even more in favor of LEDs, as newer generations of that technology become even more efficient, requiring less energy to produce the same amount of light.

“Everything I’ve seen strengthens the assumption that LED efficiency will increase,” she said. “There has not been much improvement in incandescent efficiency in the last 10 years.”

LED Eyes October 23, 2009

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Zoinks! Have you heard about the latest fashion coming out of Japan? LED Eyes! Check out this from the Dangerous Minds Blog!

Dr. Z

https://www.zbulbs.com/

I know the LED Eyelash craze is sorta old news. However, I’ve never seen the video of the eyelashes in action.

LED Eyelash is a clever product that speaks to many Asian women’s desire for bigger eyes. It features an inclination sensor with mercury to turn on and/or off. The sensor can perceive the movements of the pupil in the eyes and eyelids. If someone wears it and moves her head, LED Eyelash will flicker following the movement.


Save the Light Bulb! Wall Street Journal Editorial speaks up for Incandescents! September 28, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in compact fluorescent, Controversial information, incandescent light bulb, LED Lights, light bulb.
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Zoinks! Check out this editorial piece from the Wall Street Journal extolling the virtues of incandescent light.

Dr. Z

www.zbulbs.com

 

 

Dude! Save Incandescent they are a wicked electro clash band...

Dude! Save Incandescent they are a wicked electro clash band...

 


By HOWARD M. BRANDSTON

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 will effectively phase out incandescent light bulbs by 2012-2014 in favor of compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs. Other countries around the world have passed similar legislation to ban most incandescents.

Will some energy be saved? Probably. The problem is this benefit will be more than offset by rampant dissatisfaction with lighting. We are not talking about giving up a small luxury for the greater good. We are talking about compromising light. Light is fundamental. And light is obviously for people, not buildings. The primary objective in the design of any space is to make it comfortable and habitable. This is most critical in homes, where this law will impact our lives the most. And yet while energy conservation, a worthy cause, has strong advocacy in public policy, good lighting has very little.

Even without taking into account people’s preferences, CFLs, which can be an excellent choice for some applications, are simply not an equivalent technology to incandescents in all applications. For example, if you have dimmers used for home theater or general ambience, you must buy a compatible dimmable CFL, which costs more, and even then it may not work as desired on your dimmers. How environmental will it be for frustrated homeowners to remove and dispose of thousands of dimmers? What’s more, CFLs work best in light fixtures designed for CFLs, and may not fit, provide desired service life, or distribute light in the same pleasing pattern as incandescents. How environmental will it be for homeowners to tear out and install new light fixtures?

None of these and other considerations appear to have been included in the technical justification for this law. Instead, the decision appears to have been made entirely based on a perception of efficiency gains. Light-source efficacy, expressed as lumens of light output per watt of electrical input, has been used as a comparative metric justifying encouragement of CFLs. But this metric is flawed for one simple reason: It is a laboratory measurement and a guide, not a truth, in the field; actual energy performance will depend on numerous application characteristics and product quality.

If energy conservation were to be the sole goal of energy policy, and efficacy were to be the sole technical consideration, then why CFLs? If we really want to save energy, we would advocate high-pressure sodium lamps—those large bulbs that produce bright orangish light in many streetlights. Their efficacy is more than double what CFLs can offer. Of course this would not be tolerated by the public. This choice shows that we are willing to advocate bad lighting—but not horrible lighting.

Not yet, at least. Energy regulations pending in Washington set aggressive caps on power allowances for energy-using systems in commercial and residential buildings. These requirements have never been tested.

Here’s my modest proposal to determine whether the legislation actually serves people. Satisfy the proposed power limits in all public buildings, from museums, houses of worship and hospitals to the White House and the homes of all elected officials. Of course, this will include replacing all incandescents with CFLs. At the end of 18 months, we would check to be certain that the former lighting had not been reinstalled, and survey all users to determine satisfaction with the resulting lighting.

Based on the data collected, the Energy Independence and Security Act and energy legislation still in Congress would be amended to conform to the results of the test. Or better yet, scrapped in favor of a thoughtful process that could yield a set of recommendations that better serve our nation’s needs by maximizing both human satisfaction and energy efficiency.

As a lighting designer with more than 50 years of experience, having designed more than 2,500 projects including the relighting of the Statue of Liberty, I encourage people who care about their lighting to contact their elected officials and urge them to re-evaluate our nation’s energy legislation so that it serves people, not an energy-saving agenda.

Mr. Brandston (www.concerninglight.com) is a lighting consultant, professor and artist.

Zoinks! Philips claims a brighter idea for energy-saving light bulbs September 25, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in LED Lights, light bulb, Light bulbs in pop culture.
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Is this the light bulb of the future?

Is this the light bulb of the future?

The ubiquitous but highly inefficient 60-watt light bulb badly needs a makeover. And it could be worth millions in government prize money — and more in government contracts — to the first company that figures out how to do it. Right now, that company could be Philips, the Dutch electronics giant. The company announced on Thursday that it had submitted the first entry for the L Prize, a Department of Energy contest that will award up to $10 million to the first person or group to create a new energy-sipping version of the most popular type of light bulb used in America. As the first entrant, Philips will win the prize if its claims hold up. Testing of the Philips lamp will take close to a year as the department evaluates the company’s claims. “Philips is confident that the product submitted meets or exceeds all of the criteria for the L Prize,” said Philips Lighting chief Rudy Provoost. The $10 million is almost beside the point: The contest winner will receive consideration for potentially lucrative federal purchasing agreements, not to mention a head start at cracking a vast consumer marketplace. The L Prize has gained significant attention in the lighting industry because 60-watt incandescent lamps represent 50 percent of all the lighting in the United States, with 425 million sold each year. The Energy Department says that if all those lamps were LED equivalents, enough power would be saved to light 17.4 million American households and cut annual carbon emissions by 5.6 million metric tons annually. For decades, incandescent light bulbs continued to bear a strong resemblance to Thomas Edison’s creations, but new energy standards that go into effect in 2012 — and would outlaw today’s incandescent bulb — have brought about a period of fertile innovation in the lighting industry. One of the first attempts at greater efficiency was the now-maligned compact fluorescent bulb, but there have also been efforts to modify incandescent technology to conform to the new standard. LED bulbs are already available in stores, but those models have limited output and high prices. A faithful reproduction of an incandescent bulb’s light from an inexpensive and efficient source has been the industry’s ultimate goal. Philips has delivered 2,000 prototypes of its bulb to the Energy Department for testing. The company says the bulbs meet all the contest criteria, which specify a bulb that reproduces the same amount and color of light made by a 60-watt incandescent bulb, but uses only 10 watts. The bulb also must last for more than 25,000 hours — about 25 times longer than a standard light bulb. In a nod to economic concerns, at least 75 percent of the bulb must be made or assembled in the United States. At first, the department set no standards for compact fluorescent bulbs, and inferior products flooded the market. Consumers rebelled against the bulbs’ shortcomings: The light output from compact fluorescent bulbs was cold and unpleasant, their life was much shorter than claimed, many were large and undimmable, they would not work in cold environments and they contained polluting mercury. By setting rigorous criteria for the L Prize, the department hopes LED bulbs can avoid a similar fate. That also means rejecting current LED bulbs that can claim some technical similarities, but fall far short of the L Prize’s goals.

The ubiquitous but highly inefficient 60-watt light bulb badly needs a makeover. And it could be worth millions in government prize money — and more in government contracts — to the first company that figures out how to do it.

Right now, that company could be Philips, the Dutch electronics giant. The company announced on Thursday that it had submitted the first entry for the L Prize, a Department of Energy contest that will award up to $10 million to the first person or group to create a new energy-sipping version of the most popular type of light bulb used in America.

As the first entrant, Philips will win the prize if its claims hold up. Testing of the Philips lamp will take close to a year as the department evaluates the company’s claims.

“Philips is confident that the product submitted meets or exceeds all of the criteria for the L Prize,” said Philips Lighting chief Rudy Provoost. The $10 million is almost beside the point: The contest winner will receive consideration for potentially lucrative federal purchasing agreements, not to mention a head start at cracking a vast consumer marketplace.

The L Prize has gained significant attention in the lighting industry because 60-watt incandescent lamps represent 50 percent of all the lighting in the United States, with 425 million sold each year. The Energy Department says that if all those lamps were LED equivalents, enough power would be saved to light 17.4 million American households and cut annual carbon emissions by 5.6 million metric tons annually.

For decades, incandescent light bulbs continued to bear a strong resemblance to Thomas Edison’s creations, but new energy standards that go into effect in 2012 — and would outlaw today’s incandescent bulb — have brought about a period of fertile innovation in the lighting industry. One of the first attempts at greater efficiency was the now-maligned compact fluorescent bulb, but there have also been efforts to modify incandescent technology to conform to the new standard.

LED bulbs are already available in stores, but those models have limited output and high prices. A faithful reproduction of an incandescent bulb’s light from an inexpensive and efficient source has been the industry’s ultimate goal.

Philips has delivered 2,000 prototypes of its bulb to the Energy Department for testing. The company says the bulbs meet all the contest criteria, which specify a bulb that reproduces the same amount and color of light made by a 60-watt incandescent bulb, but uses only 10 watts. The bulb also must last for more than 25,000 hours — about 25 times longer than a standard light bulb. In a nod to economic concerns, at least 75 percent of the bulb must be made or assembled in the United States.

At first, the department set no standards for compact fluorescent bulbs, and inferior products flooded the market. Consumers rebelled against the bulbs’ shortcomings: The light output from compact fluorescent bulbs was cold and unpleasant, their life was much shorter than claimed, many were large and undimmable, they would not work in cold environments and they contained polluting mercury.

By setting rigorous criteria for the L Prize, the department hopes LED bulbs can avoid a similar fate. That also means rejecting current LED bulbs that can claim some technical similarities, but fall far short of the L Prize’s goals.

For decades, incandescent light bulbs continued to bear a strong resemblance to Thomas Edison’s creations, but new energy standards that go into effect in 2012 — and would outlaw today’s incandescent bulb — have brought about a period of fertile innovation in the lighting industry. One of the first attempts at greater efficiency was the now-maligned compact fluorescent bulb, but there have also been efforts to modify incandescent technology to conform to the new standard.

LED bulbs are already available in stores, but those models have limited output and high prices. A faithful reproduction of an incandescent bulb’s light from an inexpensive and efficient source has been the industry’s ultimate goal.

Philips has delivered 2,000 prototypes of its bulb to the Energy Department for testing. The company says the bulbs meet all the contest criteria, which specify a bulb that reproduces the same amount and color of light made by a 60-watt incandescent bulb, but uses only 10 watts. The bulb also must last for more than 25,000 hours — about 25 times longer than a standard light bulb. In a nod to economic concerns, at least 75 percent of the bulb must be made or assembled in the United States.

At first, the department set no standards for compact fluorescent bulbs, and inferior products flooded the market. Consumers rebelled against the bulbs’ shortcomings: The light output from compact fluorescent bulbs was cold and unpleasant, their life was much shorter than claimed, many were large and undimmable, they would not work in cold environments and they contained polluting mercury.

By setting rigorous criteria for the L Prize, the department hopes LED bulbs can avoid a similar fate. That also means rejecting current LED bulbs that can claim some technical similarities, but fall far short of the L Prize’s goals.

http://www.startribune.com/business/61362882.html?page=2&c=y

Some Great Tips For Hanging Christmas Lights September 22, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Definitions about product., How to about lighting, LED Lights, light bulb.
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This could happen to you

This could happen to you

Gadzooks! Its already the time to start thinking about putting up christmas lights! So I figure it would be good to post a few tips on how to go about creating your own little winter wonderland.  Ann Belvins from Better Homes and Gardens gives 13 tips for setting up a dazzling christmas display!

Dr. Z

www.zbulbs.com

 

1. Start out small. If you’re a Christmas lights novice, light just two or three items, such as trees or bushes, to serve as focal points. Add new displays each year.

2. Stay safe. Only use lights with the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) label and be sure you’re using lights designed specifically for outdoor use.

3.Know your lights. When it comes to holiday lights, there’s a type available for every nook and cranny of your house and yard. Whether you want blinking rope lights outlining windows or net lights blanketing bushes, wising up on your holiday light knowledge will help you get the most bang for your buck.

4.Check for burned-out lights. Test light strings and replace any burned-out lights before decking the halls. Burned-out lights drain power from the entire light string, and the other bulbs will grow dimmer.

5. Out with the old, in with the new. Avoid old-fashioned nails, staples, screws, or hooks when mounting your display. Electrical tape is a quick and easy alternative — it won’t destroy your roof, and it’s a good tool for protecting electrical connections. Clips, such as shingle tab or parapet clips, hold lights to surfaces by applying simple, safe pressure.

6.Use a sturdy ladder. Enlist a helper to keep you steady as you hang lights on very tall tree — you’ll stay safe and you’ll be able to reach the branches easily. Attach lights to branches with tree clips or twist ties.

 7. Work your way up. To string trunks of deciduous trees, start at the base and wrap the lights around in a spiral. If you want to illuminate an evergreen, however, start at the top and zigzag lights through the center of the tree, getting wider with the tree’s shape

8. Consider the location. If your evergreen can only be seen by passersby from the front, save lights and work by decorating the tree front only.

9. Add some dimension. Consider ground and stake lighting for extra holiday oomph. Multicolored lights work well for outlining walks, paths, and driveways.

10.Avoid bright light overload. Holiday lights can be dazzling and fun, but be careful not to overload your circuits. Include no more than 1,400 watts on a circuit. If other lights in the house dim when you turn on the holiday lights, your circuit is overloaded.

11.Look around for added sparkle. Find illuminating inspiration in unexpected places. Perhaps a birdbath or decorative porch columns would look pretty with a little extra light. For hard-to-reach spots, or any place you don’t want to use electricity, try battery-operated mini lights.

12.Call in the pros. If you don’t have roofing experience, limit your lights to eaves, gables, and the edge of the roof. Keep lights and cords away from metal. Beware of overheated wires, aluminum gutters, and ironwork decor. If you want more lights on the roof itself, call a professional lighting company.

13.Hit the switch. Turn off outdoor lights before going to bed, and don’t leave them on when you’re away from home, unless they’re attached to a timer with a photocell.

Shedding a New, Electricity-Saving Light on Retail Outlets -New York Times Article July 30, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in LED Lights, Light bulbs in pop culture.
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Zoinks! It looks like LEDs are starting to really come on strong! Retail Stores like Wal-Mart seem to be buying in.

Dr. Z

www.zbulbs.com

led-diagram

Wal-Mart parking lot in Leavenworth, Kan., is for all intents and purposes a giant laboratory.

 
 
 

 

The company is testing out new light-emitting diode (LED) lights to illuminate the area as part of an energy efficiency project involving a score of other retailers and the U.S. Energy Department. The goal is to see whether it can successfully implement a new form of lighting that could give the shopping malls of America a stark new look.

It may also bring a new look to corporate balance sheets because it promises more than 50 percent energy savings and an 80 percent reduction in maintenance costs, while reducing light “drift,” or what some people call light pollution, from disturbing nearby neighborhoods.

In a collaboration that began in April last year, Wal-Mart, DOE and 11 other major retailers launched a working group to figure out what characteristics would be necessary to successfully use LED lighting in a retail parking lot setting.

The project came out of the Retailer Energy Alliance, a coalition of about 40 retailers working with the Energy Department to find ways to reduce energy use through innovative new technologies. The idea behind the alliance is that it can be costly to install some of the new technologies. To combat that, DOE works with the retailers to come up with specifications for common energy applications.

The alliance is currently working on several projects, but the LED project is the “most ripe,” said Dru Crawley, DOE’s commercial building team leader, because the efficiencies for solid-state lighting are already there.

Will shoppers buy it?

So Wal-Mart decided to use its new Kansas store, which opened this month, as a guinea pig. “We wanted to test the technology parameters of the recommendations … to find out how it actually performs in the environment and with our shoppers,” said Don Moseley, Wal-Mart’s director of sustainable facilities.

Some of the features include a projected 10-year maintenance requirement, compared with a current two-year relamping time frame, and controlled optics that focus the light on the parking lot, eliminating much of the light “drift” that occurs now.

The parking lot is now filled with 33 poles supporting 92 fixtures. The energy savings and performance will be monitored on an annual basis, and after the first year, the company will start evaluating the project’s success, Moseley said.

He declined to discuss the up-front costs beyond estimating that there is currently an estimated three- to six-year payback period, saying that because it is a new technology that is being tested, the costs do not reflect the true market value. “While that cost is an important decision, if all the other parameters prove true and the other savings are there, and we have a safe and secure shopping environment, at that point, then, we try to negotiate for volume purchase.”

One area the company will be monitoring closely is customer acceptance, said Ralph Williams, an electrical engineer with the company. It will also be watching energy use, performance and light depreciation from an outage perspective and from an overall maintenance perspective.

The goal is that as these factors are watched, the Kansas store will be used in DOE’s Gateway Demonstration project, making it a showcase for various LED products. According to the department’s Web site, it could help spur the use of the new technology.

Other energy efficiency partnerships in the works

There are two other alliances currently working with the Energy Department: the Commercial Real Estate Energy Alliance and the Hospital Energy Alliance, both of which launched in April. The Retailer Alliance was the first to start, beginning in February last year.

For example, commercial real estate owners and large retailers have agreed to work with the department to try to reach 50 percent energy savings throughout an entire new building, and 30 percent in one existing building.

“The idea is not just one each, but it’s to take what is learned and move on toward changing prototypes so you’re getting significant energy savings from technologies that work in existing buildings that can move through entire portfolio,” Crawley said.

This project has 23 industry partners and began in November, Crawley said. DOE is getting ready to review initial plans for each for achieving efficiency plans, and the next step for new buildings is construction. For existing buildings, the next step is retrofitting.

These kinds of alliances are demonstrating how the department can use its position to help various industry sectors achieve real energy efficiency, Crawley said.

“This is an example of what can be done,” he said. “The department can be the broker to make sure that the energy efficiency claims are met and that the owners get what they expect.”

The next sector DOE is eyeing for an energy efficiency partnership is higher education, Crawley said, which has already made significant strides on its own. “We’re talking with colleges, universities and community colleges to see what we can do there,” Crawley said. “We want to see how we can support them and help in their efforts to save energy.”