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Incandescent Light Bulbs - Which are going away When?
Old 06-03-2011, 12:11 AM   #1
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Incandescent Light Bulbs - Which are going away When?

I have not seen a good guide to the whole kill the filament light bulb crusade. Somewhere I saw that in (January?) of 2012, 40 to 100 watt light bulbs would go criminal. And something about others in 2013 & 2014. But it was sketchy and I had doubts about its accuracy, or even if the person writing it knew what a light bulb was.

Are these just the regular (A19) envelope bulbs?
What about 40w clear bulbs used in fan lights, ovens, etc?
What about bulbs with the candelabra bases?
What about the outside PAR lamps?
What about indoor floodlights like the R-30 and R-40 envelope sizes?
What about the indoor spotlights in R-30 envelopes?
What about the so-called "heat lamps" (Infra red) in the BR-40 envelope?

I haven't seen any fluorescent spotlights, probably because for a spot light to work, you need a point light source to put at the focus of the reflector, and a fluorescent tube is a line sorce, not a point source. So if incandescent spotlights go away, the replacement is... what? Take a chance on a $65 LED whatever that may not work right, may croak at any time for another $65? Sure, sign me up for 5 of 'em.

Considering what a mess this is going to make, I can't find a comprehensive guide to it.

Have you found anything that lays this all out in detail?
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Old 06-03-2011, 12:30 AM   #2
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I would be interested in this too.

Being nearly terminally stodgy and old fashioned, I bought my first CFL bulb this week. I thought I should try to get used to them before they become mandatory. I guess they are OK but I am going to miss regular light bulbs.
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Old 06-03-2011, 06:30 AM   #3
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More than enough info here.
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Although the United States is not phasing out incandescent light bulbs, it has set minimum efficiency standards for lighting which preclude most legacy incandescent designs; these minimum standards phase in between 2012 and 2014.
And a nice calculator here.
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Old 06-03-2011, 06:42 AM   #4
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Now that the end of the world didn't happen, I'm worried about this, too.
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Old 06-03-2011, 06:44 AM   #5
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Home Depot, at least near us, no longer sells 'standard' incandescents. I suspect they're taking an opportunity to streamline their products / 'respond to customer demand'

As I understand, new incandescent designs could have met the new reg requirements, but it seems manufacturers are moving to push LEDs instead. As a result, CFL and LED prices are coming way down. However, you might want to be on the lookout for something like Philips Halogena bulbs which do meet the new requirements and are an incandescent / halogen hybrid.

This does not affect appliance bulbs or other specialty bulbs.

Also, halogen bulbs use less energy per lumen than standard incandescents so you shouldn't have a problem finding those as far as I know... and they come in PAR-30 and PAR-45.

You can easily pick up dimmable and non-dimmable CFLs in R-30 and R-40 packages. I've only seen them in a flood configuration though, although I haven't looked for one with a better spot diffusion.

You can easily pick up CFLs with candelabra bases. They also have ones designed for ceiling fans, just like they had incandescents designed for ceiling fans. I don't have ceiling fans so I can't speak to their effectiveness.

You can also pick up outdoor-rated CFLs for exterior lights (have a 40w equiv in our lamp, it turns on at 0F no problem).

All of the LED R-30s I've tried work excellent as spots and not so well as floods. This may be specific to type. I have a couple EcoSmart from Home Depot and a Feit with Cree LEDs from Costco. They're dimmable, instant-on, etc. I find the detail resolution to be much, much higher than with incandescents and CFLs. This means they really make wrinkles pop.

I also have a couple of the new Philips 60w equiv LEDs in our hall bath. (Amazon.com: Philips Ambient LED Dimmable 60W Replacement Light Bulb: Home & Garden). They're a bit warmer (slightly more yellow cast) than a soft white incandescent, but otherwise they're a great replacement (other LEDs I had tried only lit half the bathroom!)

And, in the bedroom, I have several Philips AmbientLED candelabra bulbs. They're roughly 25w equivs.

Biggest thing I've noticed across the board is that you really gotta shop based on lumens and not on wattage equivalence.

Around here, the local energy co-op is always running huge instant rebate offers at Home Depot and Costco (and I assume everywhere, but this is where I shop). This generally only affects CFLs, but it does bring the cost down significantly.

Oh, and I only paid $30 for my last PAR-30 LED (the Feit from Costco) and the most I ever paid was $40 for one from Home Depot last year. Hopefully you'll start seeing them a lot cheaper than $65 around you soon!

eta: I decided to replace our high-use rooms with CFL or LEDs over this last winter. Shooting for an 80/20 thing. So far, energy usage is down significantly but it's too early to tell if it'll have an impact on cooling (I won't know until I can compare September... plus cooling this year will likely be way different from last).
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Old 06-03-2011, 11:59 AM   #6
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I bought some of the new bulbs a year ago, didnt like them and took them out and replaced with the good old fashioned ones. Unfortunately I think this is a reflection on me more than the new bulbs. This fits in with my still using postage stamps, no online banking, and newspaper delivered everyday on the driveway. I give "old people" a bad name as I am resistant to change. I didn't want to be that way when I was young, but something happened along the way and I'm only 47 (going on 75 I guess).
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Old 06-03-2011, 02:17 PM   #7
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I can "easily pick up" dimmable CFLs, but a search of homedepot.com says that it'll cost me $9-10 for one. Ouch! And I don't think it would replace any of my dimmable bulbs. I've got a dimmable dining room light with candelabra style bulbs; family room and living room, each with recessed can lights; and I've got touch lamps in my bedroom that have 3 levels. Plus I've got a pair of wall sconces that take 2 bulbs each that for some reason don't work with CFLs. I think they might be reduced output (which seems stupid, I could've just used lower wattage bulbs). A couple people tried to help me diagnose it but we never did figure it out. Too bad because these are the lights that are on the longest. Some day I'll have to figure out what I can do with those...CFL or LED or stock up on incandescent.

I've been replacing many lights, especially high use, with CFLs and saving the bulbs for those special usage.

Outdoor doesn't look much better right now, 12/$80.

I don't mind the "slow on" in some applications. For my kitchen, it's kind of nice to have the lights start dim and increase brightness over 30 seconds while my night eyes adjust. But for some places that's not what I want. In my mud room I want to turn the light on and find what I need on my way out the door as quickly as possible. Likewise I have both a light that comes on inside the garage and outside the garage when I hit the opener, and I don't want to idle in the driveway until there's enough light to see.

I understand there's some payback in longer bulb life and reduced energy cost, but I've got a lot of lights I just don't turn on that much, where I'll never get the payback from a $20 LED.
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Old 06-03-2011, 02:25 PM   #8
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RunningBum, I know Home Depot has as dimmable cold cathode candelabra base but the output is a sad 200 lumen or thereabout. Same issue with a decent LED candelabra base (LED is very directed light but the newer ones do better in this area).

Also, GE's instant on CFLs work great. I have those in my basement landing (not somewhere I want a slow on) and there's no warmup time. I suspect there's a tradeoff in there somewhere.
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Old 06-03-2011, 02:43 PM   #9
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SOooooo how much to stockpile 40 of your favorite incandescent bulbs? $10-$17?

And that would get you how long down the road?
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Old 06-03-2011, 02:52 PM   #10
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I hate to admit it, but I laid in a supply of my favorite incandescents for use in areas where I need a lot of light right away. I'm using CFLs in other areas of the house but have been disappointed with their performance so far. There are claims that they last a long time but it seems like mine last no longer than the incandescents. I'm hoping (but not confident) that LEDs are the long term solution.
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Old 06-03-2011, 03:23 PM   #11
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I've put 5500K CFLs in most of our house, just because I find their light much more pleasant than that of incandescents. (My wife doesn't like the slightly more bluish 6500K bulbs at all.)
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Old 06-03-2011, 04:04 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by misanman View Post
I hate to admit it, but I laid in a supply of my favorite incandescents for use in areas where I need a lot of light right away. I'm using CFLs in other areas of the house but have been disappointed with their performance so far. There are claims that they last a long time but it seems like mine last no longer than the incandescents. I'm hoping (but not confident) that LEDs are the long term solution.

Me too.... The CFLs are not that great IMO... none have lasted a long time... my 'instant on' is not even close to full light... just a dim part of 'instant'...

I do hope LEDs get a lot cheaper... maybe a halogen that is cheap to make would do...
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Old 06-03-2011, 05:14 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by RunningBum View Post
I can "easily pick up" dimmable CFLs, but a search of homedepot.com says that it'll cost me $9-10 for one. Ouch!
I tried several types of dimmable CFLs, but didn't care for the results.

We settled on using the halogen lamps for all the dimmer circuits, pretty much all the ceiling lights, and the CFLs using a warm white variety for the other lights in the house. The result looks pretty good.

Halogen and pressurized xenon lights are available in the standard Edison base and candelabra bases, along with the specialty lamps.
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Old 06-03-2011, 10:04 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Webzter View Post
Home Depot, at least near us, no longer sells 'standard' incandescents. I suspect they're taking an opportunity to streamline their products / 'respond to customer demand'
I think there is plenty of customer demand for cheap bulbs that come on instantly, are dim-able, come in plain eco-friendly cardboard packaging ( I can't understand why 'green' bulbs come in tough plastic packaging - I broke one trying to get it out!), and don't contain mercury (and I think the mercury issue is way over-blown, but it's still an issue), or catch on fire (I've had a couple smoke and emit putrid, toxic smelling fumes - very scary).

It's governmental regulations pushing this, not 'customer demand'. I've already got a bunch of CFLs in every socket in my house that it makes sense (maybe two dozen?). Outside of that, I'd like the CHOICE to put in an incandescent where it makes sense (like the attic or closet light that is used 20 minutes a year).

Like I really need my Congressperson to walk through my house and help me decide what kind of light makes sense

Quote:
As I understand, new incandescent designs could have met the new reg requirements,...
30%? I don't think so.


Quote:
This does not affect appliance bulbs or other specialty bulbs.
I suspect I'm going to have to buy some 'specialty bulbs' for my closets. Which are typically much more $ than a basic 60W generic, and generally use more power/lumen anyway. Thanks Mr Government.


Quote:
You can easily pick up CFLs with candelabra bases.
Most lights with candelabra bases are low wattage, like 25W. There just isn't much savings there to go high eff. And we rarely turn those lights on anyhow. Gee, maybe I'd like the CHOICE to put in a cheap bulb there?


Quote:
Biggest thing I've noticed across the board is that you really gotta shop based on lumens and not on wattage equivalence.
I though wattage equivalents were based on lumens? What (watt?) other measure would they use?


Quote:
Around here, the local energy co-op is always running huge instant rebate offers at Home Depot and Costco (and I assume everywhere, but this is where I shop). This generally only affects CFLs, but it does bring the cost down significantly.
By what magic does it bring the cost down? It doesn't, it only changes who pays for it. Subsidies are paid by taxpayers, and we are them. We have met the enemy and he is us! If a bulb doesn't have good payback w/o a subsidy, then it doesn't have a good payback with a subsidy either. It's all money.


Quote:
Oh, and I only paid $30 for my last PAR-30 LED (the Feit from Costco) and the most I ever paid was $40 for one from Home Depot last year. Hopefully you'll start seeing them a lot cheaper than $65 around you soon!
Please post when they are less than $1, w/o any fuzzy subsidy math.

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Originally Posted by RunningBum View Post
I can "easily pick up" dimmable CFLs, but a search of homedepot.com says that it'll cost me $9-10 for one. Ouch!

...

I understand there's some payback in longer bulb life and reduced energy cost, but I've got a lot of lights I just don't turn on that much, where I'll never get the payback from a $20 LED.
+1 I CHOSE to put in dimmers on many highly used lights, so that I didn't use any more electricity than needed, and I had lighting level flexibility for the cost of a dimmer ($5?). Now they want to legislate to make my CHOICE obsolete and all backwards. Thanks Mr Governement.

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Originally Posted by calmloki View Post
SOooooo how much to stockpile 40 of your favorite incandescent bulbs? $10-$17?

And that would get you how long down the road?
I'm gonna have to think about that.

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Originally Posted by M Paquette View Post
I tried several types of dimmable CFLs, but didn't care for the results.
Another satisfied customer.

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Old 06-03-2011, 10:28 PM   #15
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We've stockpiled several dozen incandescent bulbs for future use. They are good for the closets, I use them occasionally in clamp-on reflector bases for spot heating in the winter (I've got a balky pump switch that sometimes freezes up--I only need to do this about 10 days each winter). I also prefer these lights if I'm doing a lot of reading. I went so far as to purchase some 220V incandescent bulbs on a recent trip to GE--they burn very dimly, but should last a LONG time in our 110 VAC sockets.

Telly, I haven't seen a lot of info on the phase-out. I'm sure incandescent appliance bulbs will continue to be available.
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Old 06-03-2011, 10:39 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
We've stockpiled several dozen incandescent bulbs for future use. They are good for the closets, I use them occasionally in clamp-on reflector bases for spot heating in the winter (I've got a balky pump switch that sometimes freezes up--I only need to do this about 10 days each winter). .... I went so far as to purchase some 220V incandescent bulbs on a recent trip to GE--they burn very dimly, but should last a LONG time in our 110 VAC sockets.
You could also wire two sockets in series, and use two standard 110V bulbs. Same effect on extending the life. I've also wired a diode in series with a lamp to provide a basic dimmer, that also cuts the voltage in half and extends the bulb life.

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Old 06-03-2011, 11:32 PM   #17
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We have laid in a supply of the old bulbs, too. In garage or closet, new ones are ok. But in the reading areas of my home, we only like the old ones.
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Old 06-04-2011, 12:21 AM   #18
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I have replaced most of our can lights with the CFL ones. I don't notice any difference in life....about a year. They are slowwwwww to come on; especially when it is cold in the house. We live in a very rural area with very restrictive outdoor lighting allowances (sort of odd combination) but it is a village ordinance so our outside lights are pretty dim and all are down-facing (except the sets of flood lights I have mounted for the back patio on a motion sensor for intruder alerting). These outside lights are all "special" incandescent bulbs as there are no CFL clear bulbs for this fixtures.

We have replaced all the can lights at the shop with CFL floods and again, the replacement rate is about a year. I am looking for some with a temperature of about 5200-5500K to help with the mild yellow tint from the 2700K ones we get at Costco. Home Depot and Lowes, our only other local source does not carry the higher temperature ones or they are way too expensive to buy in the bulk we use.

Xenon might be a better choice for the smaller specialty bulbs rather than halogens since they run a lot cooler. I replace most of the halogen bulbs in our RV with Xenon and it makes a big difference in the heat at the ceiling level. LEDs are also a choice but a very expensive one and only for hidden bulbs due to the design.

I'm all for better energy savings but frankly, my lighing bill is nothing compared with my AC bill on an annual basis and we usually keep the thermostat at 80 all summer. Our Northern family hate to come here in Summer. About half the year we run no HVAC at all due to the comfortable climate. Solar is an option but the cost and space for batteries is outrageous. Also, local ordinances against the panels on the front (street visible) side of the house. Our front faces West which is our best profile for solar so anything else is a significant compromise in efficiency so why invest the $$$$ with so little payback? My neighbor uses solar water panels to heat his pool. We don't have the room at the right sun angle...too bad cause it would be nice to be able to use it longer into Winter or earlier in Spring.

Anyway, sorry about the TMI. My short answer is the government has too much time on it's hands to create laws that create such chaos and expense for us poor peons. I plan on stocking certain bulb sizes and store them in boxes for future use while I investigate sources for affordable CFLs and xenons.

What's next? Our hours of use of lighting? Or the number of washer and drying loads done per week. I guess that means no Christmas lights sometime in the future unless they are candles...like in the olden days. I guess we will be back in the stone age one way or another during our lifetime; government dictate or catastrophic war.

To my Southern brothers, "We shall save our money, stock our cornbread, keep our powder dry and The South Shall Rise Again....this time we need to add we will saver our lightbulbs too. A little revolution every once in a while is a healthy thing for a democracy.
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Old 06-04-2011, 07:07 AM   #19
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I can see why the manufacturers are supporting the cfl bulbs. why sell bulbs for 50cents or 25 cents when you can get people to pay 3. apiece and will last no longer than incandescent. I think this is just another ploy to get more money out of the consumers.
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Old 06-04-2011, 08:01 AM   #20
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I think there is plenty of customer demand for cheap bulbs that come on instantly, are dim-able, come in plain eco-friendly cardboard packaging ( I can't understand why 'green' bulbs come in tough plastic packaging - I broke one trying to get it out!), and don't contain mercury (and I think the mercury issue is way over-blown, but it's still an issue), or catch on fire (I've had a couple smoke and emit putrid, toxic smelling fumes - very scary).
If there is customer demand, then why are the big box stores dropping them like a hot potato? Some conspiracy where congress is leaning on them? (I'd by that, btw). You customers must not be demanding enough! They should still be available now if you were (according to free market theory and all that) as the phase out isn't here yet. In fact, we should see them on shelves still and prices going up in response to real or perceived scarcity.

also, as an aside, since you mentioned the mercury thing... if you get your power from coal, then that <5mg or mercury in your bulb will save >300mg of mercury from being released into the atmosphere via coal burning. On the other hand, if you get your power from nuclear, then choosing bulbs with mercury in them is a bad tradeoff.

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30%? I don't think so.
Incandescent Bulbs Return to the Cutting Edge - NYTimes.com

although, of note, check out this from 2007

GE Announces Advancement in Incandescent Technology; New High-Efficiency Lamps Targeted for Market by 2010

compared to this from 2008

GE Suspends Development Of High-Efficiency Incandescent Bulbs Environmental Management & Energy News Environmental Leader

It looks like those free market companies freely decided that there was no more market in incandescents even though they were hitting 30% and they could fleece us more by moving their research dollars to LED and OLED (more likely, GE found or was offered another tax loophole for the move)

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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I though wattage equivalents were based on lumens? What (watt?) other measure would they use?
Go look at packages. You'll see bulbs labeled as 60w equiv with a 100 lumen difference. That's pretty significant. Just in my cupboard, I have a 65w equiv rated at 595 lumens and a 65w equiv rated at 750 lumens. I have a 40w rated at 550 lumnes and a 40w rated at 300 lumens.

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By what magic does it bring the cost down? It doesn't, it only changes who pays for it. Subsidies are paid by taxpayers, and we are them. We have met the enemy and he is us! If a bulb doesn't have good payback w/o a subsidy, then it doesn't have a good payback with a subsidy either. It's all money.
If I had known we needed to be pedantic, then I could have said that it significantly brings one immediate out of pocket costs down significantly. However, I would posit that, long term, yes it may actually help with all costs including taxes to support your utility.

Suppose you buy money from an electrical company. Suppose that electrical company needs to build plants as demand for electricity increases. Suppose that it's consumers cutting energy consumption allows it to push off the need for building new plants. Suppose the cost of the rebate to make this happen is significantly lower than the cost of a new plant. In that case, offering the rebate is a much more economical solution as it's effectively freed up a new plant worth of capacity by subsidizing. I suppose that'd probably be a good thing.

In this world, it would also make economic sense for a utility to offer some form of discount on new appliances and HVAC systems if they are significantly more efficient than the system they're replacing. In my area, this is the case. One can be eligible for a rebate on, say, a new HVAC system if the system it's replacing is less efficient. The amount of the rebate is based on the improvement in efficiency (replacing a 12 SEER with a 14 SEER gets you a rebate. Moving to a 16 SEER would get you a bit more. Replacing a 14 SEER with a 13 or 14 SEER does not get you a rebate.)

Encouraging the replacement of inefficient with efficient when the utility sees the benefit over the lifetime of the decision (even if the homeowner doesn't, eg they move) makes economic sense for the utility company.

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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Please post when they are less than $1, w/o any fuzzy subsidy math.
As you know, I was responding to a comment about LED light bulbs (which are not subsidized, at least around here). My point was, and is, that costs for those are coming down significantly. I know you don't honestly expect a new product to come on the market with a significantly different technology and be substantially cheaper than it's predecessor at the onset. At least recently, we can bear this out by comparing Plasma or LED TVs to tube TVs when they first appeared on the mass market (as in Best Buy selling them)

Also, one should consider their lifetime ownership costs when making a purchase. An LED bulb has a theoretical life of 30,000-50,000 hours (now, I know mean time to failure (MTTF) for a single LED is right around 50k hours but obviously 5*MTTF != 50k). So, one should compare both the expected lifetime of the bulb and the expected lifetime of the incandescent and the expected reduction in operating expenses when making a purchasing decision. Suppose we never get to a point where an LED costs less than an incandescent does today. However, suppose we get to a point where they cost 5x as much. That may still be a net benefit if they last at least 5x longer. Your upfront cost is higher but your MTTF is pushed way into the future. Couple that with usage savings (even if insignificant due to location) and you come out ahead. I'm obviously not saying we're there now, but hopefully it is obvious that one doesn't need to reach an identical cost in order for it to be a cheaper deal.

Subsidized CFL bulbs last month were $3 for 12. Non-subsidized (they were only subsidizing the warm white around here) were $12 for 12.

Economies of scale (more consumers purchasing, more effort going into production to meet demand) dictates that this will happen. It's simple economics.

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Thanks Mr Governement.
Agreed, I'd personally much, much rather have seen significantly higher energy cost than a government mandate (in so far as any utilities that are operating as non-profits and actually have thin internal margins and/or having loses subsidized. People make different consumption choices when gas is $4 a gallon and I suspect they'd make different choices with electricity at 30 cents a KW (if they're used to 10 cents, for example). Again, I wouldn't support artificially raising the rate, but I suspect privatizing utilities or eliminating any loss-carrying if it exists would accomplish this.
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