This is a guest post by Richard T. Berry
LED bulbs are expensive, and many still don’t deliver the warm ambient light pleasant to the eye. But things are changing. Recently, Philips has launched a new A19 SlimStyle LED bulb that promises more efficiency with 22.8 years of lifetime. The company claims that the public criticisms of LEDs being more expensive and duller than classic incandescent bulbs simply didn’t take into account advances in LED technology.
What we liked about A19 LED bulb?
Novel design. This bulb has a traditional round shape on the front, but is flat when viewed from the side. This innovative pancake shape eliminates the need for a metal heat sink, and hence the lower price tag compared to similar LEDs on the market.
Energy savings. Phillips claims that SlimStyle lasts 25 times longer than a long-established 60W incandescent bulb with a comparable output. We particularly liked the Philips’ claim that A19 would last for 20,000 hours or 22.8 years if used for 3 hours / 7 days a week. Phillips also says that the new bulb reduces energy use by 85 percent compared to 60 watt incandescent bulb and brings savings of $136.13 over its lifetime.
Visual performance. Another appealing issue about this bulb is that it lights instantly, works with most dimmers and provides a natural, soft light that we prefer.
Eco-friendliness. LED bulbs are mercury free, so one big environmental concern is crossed off the list.
What we disliked about it?
Price. The drawback to this bulb is that at just $9.97 it’s still quite expensive for many. However, this Energy Star approved bulb, promises that the money invested will bring additional money savings over time.
Insufficient knowledge of environmental externalities. That is, manufacturing of and recycling LEDs does create environmental waste. What are the estimates on the energy and environmental costs to manufacture and dispose of this light bulb? And how do these compare with that of a standard bulb?
Marketing hype may override economic sense. Even if you’re completely fired up about the new A19 LED bulb, it would be environmentally insensitive, to say at least, to throw away swiftly your installed CFL bulbs. We suggest to potential buyers to ignore the current marketing hype that accompanies the introduction of the bulb, and continue using their working CFLs for as long as they can. When the CFL reaches the end of life, be sure to carefully dispose of it.
The bottom line is, in spite of the marketing hype, there is a lot to like about the new A19 LED bulb: a very long lifetime, energy-efficiency, dimmability and eco-friendliness. We recommend that you consider it, but make sure it makes economic sense to do so.