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  (Source: Philips)
Bulb will debut at $50; nobody said "perfection" was cheap

Nearly four years have passed since the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the "L Prize", a $20M USD reward to the first company who successfully produced a light-emitting diode (LED) bulb meeting a special set of criteria in terms of energy efficiency and lighting performance.  The prize took money from allocations made by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, signed into law by former President George W. Bush.

I. Koninklijke Philips Wins the L Prize

The years have passed and at last there is a winner.  The prize has been awarded to a design from Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. (AMS:PHIA), an Amsterdam, Netherlands-based global electronics company.

The winning design is dubbed the "Philips Award Winning LED Bulb".  Its specs easily meet the L Prize criteria:
Philips L Prize

A video on the testing process is seen below:



The Philips bulb survived all the tests, emerging with flying colors.  It did particularly well in longevity testing, showing almost no performance degradation after predicted at 25,000 hours (1041 days, or almost 3 years of continuous operation).

II. For $50 is the L Prize Bulb Worth It?

The bulb trims over 2.5W off Philip's previous generation LED bulb designs, a power savings of roughly 20 percent.  Unfortunately those savings come at a cost -- where as Philip's previous generation models are retailing for around $33 USD, the new bulb retails for $49.95 USD, nearly 50% more expensive.  The bulb is assembled in the U.S. from components manufactured in Shenzhen, China with LED chips made in San Jose, Calif.

L Prize award
Philips Professional Luminaires CEO Zia Eftekhar (left) and Philips Lighting North America CEO Ed Crawford accept the L-Prize award from Dr. Arun Majumdar, a senior DOE official.
[Image Source: DOE/Koninklijke Philips]

The pricey bulb has a 29 percent wall-plug efficiency ratio -- compared to the 60W incandescent lamp’s 12% and a CFL’s 19% wall-plug efficiency.  The new design delivers 90 lm/W (an efficiency measure) –compared to an average 60W incandescent with about 13 lm/W or a CFL with about 53 lm/W.

Detailed information about its color and luminosity performance is available here [PDF], direct from Philips.

The bulb carries a distinct yellowish hue when powered off, but Philips assures that the "remote phosphor" (yellow) disappears when the bulb is powered on.  The emitted light is white with a slightly yellowish hue (as with the standard off-the-shelf incandescent bulbs).

Philips L Prize Bulb
The L-Prize winning bulb design [Image Source: Koninklijke Philips]

Philips is offering a 3-year warranty on the bulb.  And it rates it at 30,000+ hours of life.

Given a $0.10 USD per kWH cost of electricity -- a "middle of the road" scenario in the U.S. [source] -- the bulb would save approximately $150 USD over its lifetime ($0.10 USD/kWh * 3e4 h * 0.050 kW) versus an incandescent design.  However, the additional 2.5 watts of power savings over previous generation models only represents approximately $7.50 USD more in savings.

Aside from the cost savings, the LED lights also offer smoother dimming than incandescent bulbs, with less impact on longevity.  And unlike compact fluorescent lighbulbs (CFLs), a rival energy efficient design, they lack toxic compounds like mercury.

Thus the bulb may be sought after by LED lighting enthusiasts, but will likely be overlooked by businesses, which would tend to prefer cheaper, more mature LED designs.  However, the technology should eventually fall into line with current generation models price-wise, offering the best of both worlds.

We're still a long way from the promises of some LED researchers -- a 60-year light bulb that costs $2.85 USD -- but the industry is starting to get to the point where LED lighting makes sense for businesses and consumers from a financial perspective.

You can order the bulb from various sources, such as Light Bulb Emporium.  It should ship in March.

For its win, Philips receives $10M USD, and free promotion from the DOE.  The DOE still has more money to give to other L-Prize winners.

Note:
Be careful when browsing sites or shops looking for this bulb as there's many different models out here.  Note this is the <10 W Endura series model.  This should not be confused with the last-gen 12.5W Endura series model (linked above) or the (last-gen) 8W Ambient Light series.

Note 2:
While the bulb design was an international effort based on the multi-national Koninklijke Philips company, the award winning design was submitted by Philips Lighting North America, who will be producing and marketing the bulb in the U.S.

Sources: DOE, Philips, Light Bulb Emporium [order]



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RE: I would buy this over CCFL any time.
By othercents on 2/27/2012 12:13:39 PM , Rating: 0
1000bulbs has this one listed at $34.71 each

http://www.1000bulbs.com/product/58963/LED-409946....


RE: I would buy this over CCFL any time.
By JasonMick (blog) on 2/27/2012 12:23:00 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
1000bulbs has this one listed at $34.71 each

http://www.1000bulbs.com/product/58963/LED-409946....

Be careful -- that's the previous generation model. Amazon has it listed for ~$33 (as linked in the article):
http://www.amazon.com/PHILIPS-Endura-Dimmable-inca...

The new bulb is <10 W.

If you see a Endura 12.5 W bulb, it means that it's the last-gen design.

Also the Endura model is different from the AmbientLight model.


RE: I would buy this over CCFL any time.
By OCedHrt on 2/27/2012 12:25:41 PM , Rating: 2
Not available at that link anymore, but 27.59 here:

http://www.amazon.com/Philips-409904-Dimmable-Ambi...


By TheRequiem on 2/27/2012 2:22:40 PM , Rating: 2
Here's a link to the actual new bulb, they are listed for $55, but there is a 10% off coupon from retailmenot that lower's it down to about $48 + free shipping + no tax. So still below msrp.

http://www.bulbamerica.com/philips-enduraled-10w-a...


By Spuke on 2/27/2012 2:49:36 PM , Rating: 2
The 12.5W is what I'm using currently. Excellent lighting.


RE: I would buy this over CCFL any time.
By tastyratz on 2/27/2012 4:16:26 PM , Rating: 2
Jason,
You compared cost savings to incandescent bulbs but that means very little when comparing green/energy efficient lighting. Why didn't you compare to typical cfl bulbs as well? wouldn't that have made more logical sense?


RE: I would buy this over CCFL any time.
By JasonMick (blog) on 2/27/2012 5:04:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Jason,
You compared cost savings to incandescent bulbs but that means very little when comparing green/energy efficient lighting. Why didn't you compare to typical cfl bulbs as well? wouldn't that have made more logical sense?

That's a harder figure to solidly pinpoint.

While LEDs and incadescent bulbs both have relatively well-established lifetimes, CFLs life spans are being found to be quite a bit shorter than promised in the field (see linked article).

Thus it'd be hard to give numbers without being misleading.

Clearly CFLs represent some cost savings too, with a lower buy-in price. However, they are quite toxic and also prone to certain early failure issues, in current form.


RE: I would buy this over CCFL any time.
By tastyratz on 2/28/2012 10:39:12 AM , Rating: 2
Harder yes, but not impossible.
800 lumens on a good cfl is 13 watts, 61.5 lumens per watt (src wiki)

If that bulb costs only around 3 dollars when purchased in a multipack, even if it were to have a shorter lifespan... it does not have 16+ times the lifespan considering cost.

LED is great and I hope it certainly gets there, but even with the simplest of calculations not getting into detail it is glaringly much more expensive still, even with a cheaper run cost.


RE: I would buy this over CCFL any time.
By OCedHrt on 2/29/2012 12:04:18 PM , Rating: 2
It's not that straightforward. Since this bulb is 90 lumens/watt, it uses 1/3 less energy for same lumens.

The expected life in the case of this new bulb is also about 6x rated vs CFL. Meaning the cost of equivalent CFLs would be $18.

Which bulb makes sense also depends on your cost of electricity.

For a 10W LED, after 30000 hours the electricity cost at 10cents/kwh would be $30. It would be $45 for the CFL. Meaning it would be cheaper for the CFL at $78 LED vs $63 CFL. But if electricity cost you 20cents/kwh, the LED would be the same at $108 LED vs $108 CFL.

There are also the better dimming, instant full brightness, cfl brightness decay issue, etc to consider.

And also the $3 CFL is subsidized, if LED was subsidized by your local energy provider it would likely be cheaper.


By lagomorpha on 2/29/2012 9:39:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But if electricity cost you 20cents/kwh, the LED would be the same at $108 LED vs $108 CFL.


Currently I pay 6.79 cents/kwh for electricity ... guess I'll keep CFLs in most places, and LEDs in the most common sockets because CFLs give me headaches.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_pricing

Denmark pays 40.38 cents/kwh so LEDs make sense there...
Germany 36.48
Brazil 34.18

Iceland 3.93 gotta love plentiful geothermal and hyrdo


By mindless1 on 3/3/2012 12:09:05 PM , Rating: 2
$3 per CFL is high, I get them for closer to $1 each in multipacks without subsidization.


RE: I would buy this over CCFL any time.
By HrilL on 2/27/2012 1:03:24 PM , Rating: 2
thats not the same bulb. That one is only 800 lumens. The on in the article states it is 910 lumens.


By lennylim on 2/27/2012 3:44:22 PM , Rating: 1
And according to the Amazon link, 80 CRI. The new generation is supposed to have a CRI of 93.

Less power, more light, higher CRI... might be worth the price premium after all. I won't change many of my bulbs at that price, but I might get a couple for testing.


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