A couple of significant LED-related news events were made public in March of 2013 that I believe are more than just coincidental. Their symbiotic connection is the accumulation of many years of intense work, market acceptance and with a large dose of synergistic technological breakthroughs thrown in for good measure.
The first came from Cree, a manufacturer of high brightness LEDs, LED lighting and semiconductor products. They introduced a game-changing series of LED bulbs with a retail price point, which they believe will accelerate their acceptance by consumers. They claim that this new Cree light bulb is designed to last 25,000 hours and has a retail price of $12.97 for the 60-watt warm-light-replacement incandescent bulb, saving 84 percent of the energy compared with traditional incandescents. Furthermore, and more importantly to the consumer, they go on to claim that by replacing the incandescent bulbs with Cree’s LED Bulbs in a home’s five most frequently used light fixtures, consumers can save $611 per year in electric bills.
As if this information is not a game changer in itself, they have also made these LED bulbs available exclusively at The Home Depot. This ensures that the public at large can have an abundant supply of these LED bulbs readily available within a short distance of their homes.
The second release focuses on the suspension section of the famous San Francisco Bay Bridge, where over the past 18 months, 25,000 LEDs, spaced a foot apart has been hung from the top of the bridge’s towers and suspension cables to the deck. For those of you not familiar with this bridge, it spans almost two miles from San Francisco to Yerba Buena Island in the middle of San Francisco Bay. The project was driven by a company called Bay Lights that created algorithms that constantly change and shift to give life to the LEDs. Each light is controlled individually and the patterns that result will be unique for the project duration of two years. The lighting systems was developed by Philips Color Kinetics and has been designed to use 85 percent less energy than traditional (non-LED based) solutions. The specific LEDs from Philips Color Kinetics were the eW Flex SLX product in 4200 Kelvin correlated color temperature. Nearly 4.5 miles of lights were installed.
These two events symbolize the accumulations of technological advances in LED lighting output (measured in lumens per watt, or lm/W), and their commercial affordability due to their annual energy savings impact of the life of the installation.1Based on Cree LED bulb 60W replacements at 9.5 watt,
$0.11 per kilowatt-hour, 25,000 hour lifetime and average use of 6 hours