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Zoinks!When Out to Dinner, Don’t Count the Watts- New York Times Artice June 10, 2010

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When Out to Dinner, Don’t Count the Watts By DIANE CARDWELL Published: June 7, 2010

At Maialino, the Roman-style trattoria on Gramercy Park, they hover in groups of two and three. At the Standard Grill in the meatpacking district, they snake through the cafe, restaurant and patio. And at Recipe, a rustic spot on the Upper West Side, they cluster near the entrance as an enticement. Enlarge This Image Joshua Bright for The New York Times Filament bulbs are an important part of the décor at Maialino on Lexington Avenue. Enlarge This Image Joshua Bright for The New York Times At Craft, on East 19th Street. The bulbs’ glow flatters, but they use much more energy than standard incandescent bulbs. Enlarge This Image Kate Thornton for The New York Times Bob Rosenzweig, the owner of Aamsco, in Summerville, S.C., checks a shipment of bulbs with Linda Lambert’s help. Enlarge This Image Kate Thornton for The New York Times A workstation at Aamsco, which makes and sells old-style light bulbs and fixtures and distributes vintage bulbs for others. They are not the latest cliques of beautiful people, but something quite old and plain: exposed-filament bulbs, energy-guzzling reproductions of Thomas Alva Edison’s first light bulb. And despite the escalating push to go green and switch to compact fluorescents — or perhaps because of it — their antique glow has spread like a power surge. Whether in hip hangouts tapping into the popular Victorian industrial look or elegant rooms seeking to warm up their atmosphere, the bulb has become a staple for restaurant designers, in part because it emulates candlelight and flatters both dinner and diner. The filament light is now so ubiquitous that it has prompted a backlash among those who deem it overexposed — a badge of retro cool that is fast becoming the restaurant-design equivalent of the Converse All Star. Ken Friedman, an owner of nostalgic spots like the Spotted Pig and the Rusty Knot, called the look “played out.” In a planning session last year for the Breslin, his latest take on the British gastropub, he declared, “No exposed bulbs!” And Charlie Palmer, the creator of a national hospitality empire who featured the lights in 1994 at his Flatiron district restaurant Alva said he recently dissuaded a designer from using them in a new space. “That happened 20 years ago,” he recalled saying. “It’s been done.” And yet, given all those burning amber threads dangling from cords in New York and the rest of the country, they would appear to be far from done. They remain a go-to design element, like wheatgrass in a box some years ago, for their casual air and winks at history. A lot of thought and expense go into restaurant lighting — upscale budgets easily reach six figures — because it can shape a diner’s experience almost as much as the food. Some lights favor certain colors and make others look unappetizing. But the old-fashioned bulb, though less efficient than fluorescent or L.E.D. lamps, can build an ambience at a relatively low cost. “It creates a very warm glow, through a broad spectrum with many colors,” said Paul Bentel, whose firm Bentel & Bentel hung cascades of reproduction Tesla bulbs, similar to the original Edison, throughout Craft restaurant near Gramercy Park in 2001. “A red apple will look as good as a green pear.” The Craft connection may have been the start of the boom. The bulbs became a signature there as the owner, Tom Colicchio, spread his restaurants across the country and appeared to spawn a thousand imitators. But that might not have happened without Bob Rosenzweig, who started selling the reproductions in the 1980s out of a storefront in Flushing, Queens, inspired by a fascination with the old bulbs he bought from a salvage operation on Canal Street. Priced out of Flushing, then Long Island City and Jersey City, he moved his company, Aamsco, to Summerville, S.C., a suburb of Charleston. There, he manufactures and distributes his own bulbs, as well as lights from other companies, including Kyp-Go, which has been replicating Edison’s original carbon filament bulb for nearly 50 years. “My neighbors think I’m in the witness protection program,” he said, with the brisk cadence of his Astoria upbringing. “They say, ‘Why in your right mind would you come down here to live on a dirt road in a small town? You’ve got to be hiding from somebody.’ ” He started selling the lights to collectors, theatrical prop houses and the Edison national park site in New Jersey, for its gift shop. Demand grew but did not really take off, Mr. Rosenzweig said, until shortly after the turn of the century, as consumers were being pushed to use compact fluorescents. Customers, particularly in San Francisco, complained that they hated how those squiggly bulbs looked in their vintage fixtures, casting an odd green tinge inside their restored Victorians. Around the same time came a boomlet of nostalgia-infused restaurants in New York, like Public, which opened in 2003 in a former Edison laboratory in NoLIta. “You were going to do a space that was low cost — you weren’t going to throw a ton of money at it — you wanted it as honest as possible,” Kristina O’Neal, a founder of Avroko, which designed and operates Public, said of the raw, industrial look. “But you wanted something a little bit nostalgic, a little bit about old New York, a little bit comforting, but still with your own take on it.” The bulbs are now popular all over the world, in Germany, England, Australia and even Hong Kong Disneyland, Mr. Rosenzweig said. The only place he cannot seem to find a market is Miami Beach, where the prevailing look is modern. In countries with bans on incandescent lights in homes, he markets the product as a novelty bulb. “Everybody’s going green, but we’re still hot and red,” he said. “My bulbs use a lot of energy and make the air conditioning work overtime.” In the United States, the craze has spilled over into home décor, with demand high enough that even mainstream retailers like Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware and Anthropologie sell the lights for $9 to $20 each. It remains to be seen how all this will play out in a city where Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has championed the compact fluorescent and restaurants crow about their connections to the earth. Mr. Bloomberg and his chief environmental aide declined to comment on the proliferation of the filament bulbs, some of which do not produce enough light to be included in the higher federal efficiency standards that begin taking effect in 2012, but can use roughly three times the energy of a standard incandescent. Although some Congressional aides say the new restrictions would not apply to the reproduction bulbs because they are not intended for general use, the Natural Resources Defense Council, which helped write the law, said it would challenge that interpretation. “It boggles the mind that in these times of economic hardship and interest in environmental sustainability that restaurant owners would choose the light bulb that uses 5 to 10 times more power than the other bulbs on the market,” Noah Horowitz, a senior scientist at the environmental group, wrote in an e-mail message. “You can’t on the one hand brag how green you are by serving organic beer and locally grown produce while you are lighting your business with the least efficient light bulbs available in the world.” Lighting designers, who tend to think in terms of overall watts used in a space as opposed to the environmental burden of a single fixture, say that most of the real illumination in restaurants can be handled by more efficient sources, with the vintage lights used as accents. For Mr. Friedman of the Spotted Pig, who said he was in a good-natured fight trying to restrain his designers from hanging hundreds of lights from the ceiling of his next restaurant, the eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing solution is a simple one. If you want to conjure up an old-time feel, he said, “just light real candles, you know? “They’re really cheap, they use way less of New York’s energy than a light bulb. A little candle on a table — there’s nothing more old school than that.”


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

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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



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.”

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

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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



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.”

NY Times article-Industry Looks to LED Bulbs for the Home May 11, 2009

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Published: May 10, 2009
Walk around the floor of Lightfair International, the lighting industry’s annual trade show at the Javits Center in New York last week, and you would be forgiven for thinking that lamps based on light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, had already filled our homes and workplaces.

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Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

This lamp from Nexxus Lighting uses less than 8 watts and is said to be as bright as a 75-watt incandescent bulb. Price: $100.

LED bulbs and fixtures dominated nearly every booth on the show floor.

Now all the world has to do is catch up. Most people think of LEDs as the lights blinking from inside electronic devices. They are being used increasingly to light rooms, though few people have ever bought them.

“In the U.S., 78 percent of the public is completely unaware that traditional light bulbs will be phased out in 2012,” said Charles F. Jerabek, president and chief executive of Osram Sylvania, a unit of Siemens. By law, bulbs must be 30 percent more efficient than current incandescent versions beginning that year.

While the current crop of compact fluorescents could do the job, the industry is rallying around LED lamps for many applications. They say LEDs last longer than current bulbs and compact fluorescent ones and their energy consumption could eventually be less than fluorescent lights’. They can also be made in many shapes and sizes, which was evident at the trade show. Unlike compact fluorescents bulbs, they contain no mercury and they work well in cold weather. They provide a more pleasing light than fluorescents.

Manufacturers displayed LEDs incorporated into large warehouse, garage and street-lighting fixtures, flexible light ribbons, and replacements for the halogen reflector lamps used in kitchens and offices. Strips of flexible LEDs from Osram Sylvania put light in places where it could not otherwise fit. Later this year, the company will market tiny LED chandelier lights that use 6 watts instead of the 15 watts typical of an incandescent version. It says they will last 25,000 hours instead of 1,500 for an incandescent bulb. Also this fall, Osram, Lighting Science and Philips will introduce 25,000-hour LED lamps that look like traditional bulbs but use just 8 watts of electricity to produce the same amount of light as a 40-watt bulb.

Much of the industry’s effort is aimed at making LED lamps that emit as much light as a 60- or 75-watt incandescent bulb. Cree, a leading maker of LEDs, showed a new version of its LED ceiling fixture that uses 6.5 watts, compared with 11 watts for last year’s model, to create the light of a standard 65-watt lamp.

Even with the wide range of LED products now available, compact fluorescent bulbs will be the technology of choice for most consumers for years to come. That is a result of LEDs’ high prices — more than $20 for a 40-watt-equivalent bulb — and the difficulty in creating bright bulbs. “The C.F.L. market still has a lot of growth,” said Michael B. Petras Jr., president of GE Lighting, a unit of General Electric. Even so, the company is devoting 50 percent of its research and development money to LED-related technologies.

The advent of long-lasting bulbs means light bulb companies have to shift away from making most of their money selling replacement bulbs. Over the last several years, Philips has remade itself by acquiring several companies that sell lamp fixtures for homes and businesses.

The company expects its LED sales in the United States to increase to $200 million this year from $120 million in 2008, according to Kaj den Daas, president of Philips’s lighting group for the United States.

The industry expects to sell more bulbs at a higher price. “Instead of $1.25 light bulbs, we’ll be selling $10 to $20 systems,” said Mr. Jerabek of Osram Sylvania. He also said today’s larger homes have many more lights than homes 20 years ago. And, as LED energy efficiency improves, he thinks consumers will upgrade their LED fixtures with lower watt versions.

Mr. Jerabek remembers the recent debacle with the introduction of low-price compact fluorescent lamps. Their poor reliability and unnatural light caused widespread dissatisfaction among consumers.

“It will be a huge injustice and setback if we allow the same thing to happen to LEDs,” he said.