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A Look at GE’s Lighting Revolution

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By Max Havins
April 26, 2012

SAN DIEGO — The next time you drive down the street or walk through the grocery store the lighting might be a little better, and much more efficient.

GE’s Lighting Revolution Tour is traveling the country selling cities on the benefits of high efficiency lighting. Their pitch: upgrade your offices, homes, street lights, parking lots, retail stores, and other buildings with lights that save energy and money. Sierra Club Green Home had a chance to see the products up close in San Diego last week.

If you are up-to-date on your light bulb innovations you are probably familiar with Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) and Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs). You know these bulbs can last a long time and use just a fraction of the power needed for older light bulbs.

But do you still have bitter memories of bad lighting from early CFL or LED technologies? Hate the time lag as a CFL warms up or worry about its mercury content? Concerned about the price tag on new LED lights?

This is why GE is traveling from city to city touting the benefits of new technologies. The company seeks to move past persistent myths and explain the benefits of today’s lighting options. Among those options:

  • CFLs that are bright right away (no more time lag);
  • Better sensors to make sure a building or warehouse is not lighting unused space; and
  • Brighter and more efficient lighting for garages, roadways, and retail stores.

The company sees big business opportunities in helping customers go green. On this tour, they are specifically targeting city officials, building owners, facility managers, and others who might be interested in the benefits of lighting upgrades. In places like Southern California, that includes electric utilities who are particularly interested in “load shedding” technologies that would allow them to work with customers to scale back energy use to prevent rolling blackouts.

The GE tour coincides with the first year of new national lighting standards (part of the Energy Independence and Security Act signed by President Bush in 2007). The new standards will be phased in over the next few years and require light bulbs, with some exemptions, to produce similar or better lighting with less energy.

The types of light bulbs that meet these standards already existed back in 2007. The expectation is the new standards will help catalyze further market innovation for lighting technology, which has been slow to change dating back to Thomas Edison’s invention of the incandescent light bulb in the 19th century.

GE and other companies like Philips are hoping to lead the way with next generation light bulbs. How will we know the revolution is here? Well, hopefully when we see brighter and more efficient light all around us.

 For related articles, see:
LED Bulbs Brighten Up with SWITCH
Environmentally Friendly Lighting Overview 

© 2012 SCGH, LLC.

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