Back in 1963, Cincinnati, Ohio based toy company, Kenner Products (later acquired by Hasbro), came out with the iconic Easy-Bake Oven. And, in 2011, only after eleven different design changes (and 985,000 recalls and 16 second and third-degree burn cases in 2007 alone), did its engineering finally switch from using a 100-watt incandescent bulb as the heat source for cooking its marginally-edible baked (not-so) goods. Still, for the 48 years before this, we were perfectly fine subjecting our precious little chefs (and, often involuntary, taste-testers) to the cooking and consumption of food adequately heated by household light bulbs. That’s right, with roughly 90% of the energy used to power an incandescent light bulb resulting in heat (with glowing light as a byproduct), these lamps have been effectively warming up powders mixed with water, baking them into concoctions resembling chocolate-chip cookies, that we have been eating and living to talk about for decades. Why, then, aren’t we just using the glowing elements in our piping hot ovens to illuminate our kitchens, too?
Seems a little ridiculous, doesn’t it? The idea of wasting so much energy (creating heat) to power a light bulb just doesn’t make sense, yet, ever since 1879, when Edison successfully developed the first usable light bulb for mass consumption, we have been stuck using the same bulb technology for well over a century. Up until a few years ago, heating up a filament until it glows had been the primary science behind everyday light bulbs. However, with the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the United States Congress enacted a bill that finally supported the innovation and commercialization of vastly more energy-efficient lighting products, namely CFL and LED light bulbs; phasing out incandescents entirely by 2014.
In fact, along with Land-Based Wind Power, Solar Photovoltaic, and Electric Vehicles, LED Lighting is considered one of the four “future has arrived” clean energy technologies as listed in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) September 17, 2013 report. This report states that by creating much light, with very little heat – the complete opposite from incandescent bulbs – LED light bulbs are approximately 84% more energy-efficient than their space-heating counterparts. With energy-saving initiatives increasing throughout the country, the DOE estimates that by the year 2030, LED lighting will save Americans roughly $30 billion a year in energy costs, cutting total energy consumption from lighting in half of what it is today.
With consumer demand steadily increasing, the prices of these considerably more expensive replacement light bulbs are going down. Due to energy programs nationwide, rebates are readily available throughout the country, further undermining the only real argument against every home and business owner instantly swapping out all of their old light bulbs for new, substantially more energy-efficient ones – up-front cost. Although it’s easy to see the long-term savings associated with using 75% – 85% less energy per bulb, using a lamp that will last roughly ten to twenty-five times as long as your current lighting option, the idea of spending $25 – $50 per bulb can be a tough pill to swallow. Until now…
Michael Gittins, Senior Energy Specialist at Batteries Plus Bulbs, comments on the financial implications of these rebate programs, “They definitely make an impact. There are many cases where, based on the energy savings alone, a replacement lighting option may offer a payback of 3 years, but with an incentive (rebate), the payback might get down to closer to a year. This makes it very difficult for consumers to say ‘no’.” Minimizing up-front costs makes the argument even stronger for LED bulbs, which last roughly 15-25 years before needing replacement! Gittins sees the number of LED rebate programs growing nationwide, as a reflection of this overall energy savings mindset.
However, this mass exodus of consumers clamoring for replacement light bulbs, along with the complexity of the number of rebate programs offered (which differ greatly from state to state), can make this whole process seem rather overwhelming. That’s why having an ally like Batteries Plus Bulbs is crucial for getting the most out of these programs.
“Most retail rebates are fairly straightforward instant rebates offered right in stores, which our trained lighting specialists are able to clearly articulate to our customers. Whereas, commercial rebates require a little bit more of a process, with forms and applications to fill out. Having participated in these programs since 2009, this is where our stores and their knowledge of the incentives sets them apart from the competition, as we’re able to assist our commercial customers every step of the way, ensuring they get all the savings entitled to them through the applicable program,” remarks Gittins.
For LED lighting technology, the future is most definitely NOW!
What’s your favorite way of saving energy? Post as a Comment below and enter to win a Switch™, dimmable, energy-efficient LED light bulb (pictured above)! Each Friday in October (and November 1), the contestant with the most innovative energy saving solution will receive one of these awesome light bulbs! October is Energy Awareness Month, so let’s celebrate and see what you’ve got! Contest Terms and Conditions are here.
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