In his recent blog post, “Energy Star CFLs superior to incandescent bulbs”, John Dodge highlighted energy savings achieved by replacing conventional bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) in his home. I, too, am a CFL believer. A few months after moving into my apartment in Quincy, MA, I replaced every bulb with a CFL and realized a savings on my electricity bill of roughly 20%. Last year, I even gave CFLs to my family and friends for Christmas!
CFLs render incandescent bulbs completely obsolete for residential illumination just as fluorescent technology killed off incandescent lighting in commercial buildings in the 20th Century. So, imagine my surprise when I saw a short note entitled “The Next Incandescent” in Energy and Power Management magazine.
In a new twist on a 125-year-old technology, General Electric is working on new incandescent materials that will lead to high-efficiency incandescent (HEI) lamps. These new bulbs have potential to be as efficient as CFLs, provide the same light intensity and color quality as conventional bulbs, and feature “instant-on” capability (eliminating the time delay associated with turning on CLFs). In addition, a recent GE press release on HEI technology promises these news bulbs will cost less than CFLs.
There is no word yet on when HEIs might hit the market. So, CFLs remain today’s choice for energy efficient residential illumination. However, we may soon be thanking Mr. Edison once again for commercializing the incandescent light bulb.