From a concerned reader, who we can hypothetically call Peter, I recently received an e-mail regarding a short article I wrote about alternative lighting: Solid-State Lighting Still Inching Its Way Home. Pete is somewhat upset at the possibility the government will, at some point, force us all to use LED-based lighting or some other form of illumination it deems efficient enough to save the planet from the forces of electrical inefficiency. Having been forced by the government to buy a new television just to watch the 11 O’clock news without having to pay through the nose for a video signal, I feel Pete’s pain.
In the course of a rather lengthy email, Pete makes a very interesting point about why he’s upset about looming legislation as to what kind of light we are all permitted to use. Peter actually relies on, chooses if you will, several technologies for his lighting needs. He uses fluorescent lighting in his workroom and garage, high-bright halogens for outdoor and some indoor areas, LED bulbs for ambient lighting, and a few incandescent lamps here and there for reading. Sounds like Pete's got all the bases well lit. However, his concern is that one or more of those choices might be mandated away. Pete, if you are reading this, let not your heart be heavy.
This week I attended a press event hosted by The Home Depot, the subject of which was the types of home and commercial lighting products they offer. Representatives were available from Cree, Ecosmart, LightingScience, Lutron, and Philips demonstrating and, yes, promoting their respective technologies. These included LED, CFL, and halogen based components, all of which performed differently, yet perfectly for specific lighting tasks. Just like Pete’s approach: LEDS were good in certain applications, CFLs in another, and halogens holding up their end in other apps. Of course, Lutron dimmers kept the brightness up, down, and in between.
Other than that, how does this relate to Pete’s mandate concerns? Well, the general consensus from the experts at the demo is that there will be government mandates, but not favoring one technology over another. The regulations will be to make more efficient lighting components with as little hazardous material as possible.
One example is some halogen bulbs offered by Philips. They appear to be standard incandescent bulbs, however the halogen component resides within a traditional looking bulb, which twists into a traditional socket. The bulb glass is treated with a special coating that enables the lamp to deliver the same lighting effect as traditional incandescent lighting. Another sterling example is Ecosmart’s CFLs that offer three unique levels of lighting from soft white to actual bright daylight.
In reality all technologies are viable candidates so long as they maintain certain levels of efficiency and safety. Bottom line, the Petes of the world have nothing to fear other than the fact that these SSL components will probably outlive them. Not to worry, they can leave them to their children and grandchildren in their wills. Hey, they may soon be more valuable than currency.