Making the switch

Faced with extinction, the incandescent bulb is beginning to shape up its act. A 2007 law set to take effect in 2012 sets a standard no current incandescent bulb can meet—30 percent more energy efficient than what’s currently available. But, according to a story in the New York Times, incandescent bulb makers are hardly calling it a day. They’re ramping up efforts to develop a bulb that meets that standard. Philips Lighting’s Halogena Energy Savers, for example sell for $5 (compared to about 25 cents for regular bulbs) but are 30 percent more efficient and will eventually pay for themselves.

Companies such as Deposition Sciences, General Electric, Osram Sylvania and Philips are all working on a reflexive coating technology to build a better bulb. The article also pointed out that it was a federal law that is spurring development of a more efficient product.

Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) use about 75 percent less energy than current incandescents and cost roughly $1 each. But the incandescents under development, though more expensive, could appeal to those who don’t like CFLs, which glow somewhat differently and can be difficult to use with dimmers.