Architectural Lighting called for submissions to answer the question, “What will be the fate of the incandescent lamp?”. In Jeff Miller’s (President-elect IALD, Director Pivotal Lighting) submission he makes an interesting, if nostalgic and sentimental argument in favor of the incandescent bulb. Click here to read Jeff’s Submission
My feeling is that the light bulb and it’s warm, familiar, welcoming glow is far from dead although, with recent advances from Cree, it’s only a matter of time but here’s my take on why it’s not over yet:
Yes, it’s true that the light bulb has greater power consumption then the LED but know that while LEDs have surpassed light bulbs in terms of efficacy, they are only now experiencing the same efficacy as fluorescent lamps (click to read about Cree Inc’s new XLamp LED) but simply replacing incandescent lamps with LEDs just wont work in every application. Certain LED luminaire manufacturers are currently grappling with the technical problems of replacing lamps with LEDs where the lamps are used outdoors in cold environments where the heat in their light output served the practical purpose of keeping the luminaires lens from icing over. This wasn’t discovered until all the lamps (in this case runway beacons at an airport) had been replaced with LEDs and the manufacturer has to now scramble to come up with a solution. Hah! Score one for lamps!
Headlights on your car is another one. Audi recently announced they have developed total LED based headlamps for their top-end automobiles, one can ask why and at what price? These LED headlamps require active cooling from fans in one of the dirtiest, vibration-prone environments know to man where small ball-bearing, brushless fans just won’t last that long. Even if the high-power LED modules used for the headlamps will last 20,000 hours, the fans will fail long before that (click here to read full article). It’s $50 – $100 bucks for a set of two high-end Xenon or Halogen headlamps that go right in (you could replace them yourself) but the LED headlamp assemblies likely require a degree in electrical engineering and a 400 page printed service manual (save the trees!). These LED headlamps with their integrated fans (and controllers), are they really saving anything in
terms of energy? No, cars generate their own electricity and the LEDS certainly are not helping with exhaust emissions. Maybe the auto manufacturers could really concentrate on putting out less pollutants then grabbing some headlines with LED technology. Score two for the lamps!
Finally, the BIG reason light bulbs will be with us for awhile is it will take a really, really, REALLY long time to bake a 4-inch cake in an LED powered Easy Bake Oven! 😀
What does all this mean? Nothing, its a fact of life that the incandescent and eventually even the fluorescent lamp will eventually be replaced but they’re not going out without a fight.
Thanks to Jim Allen for setting the record straight. I have a tendency to ramble on thinking one thing but writing another.
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