Monday, February 28, 2011

Do CFL lights suck? ‘Save the light bulb’ campaign has Ron Paul on board

It’s surprising to see people get worked up about light bulbs. But the country’s government-mandated shift to more energy-efficient lighting is raising the ire of conservatives.

Congressman Ron Paul, in some circles considered the “spiritual father of the Tea Party,” isn’t too happy with the U.S. mandate that light bulbs become 30 percent more efficient by 2012 to 2014, phasing in a set of standards that will arguably ban incandescent light bulbs in favor of more energy-efficient options like compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), halogen and LED lighting. Paul, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) along with 19 other Republican members of Congress, have proposed legislation to repeat the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, according to USA Today.

The legislation was signed into law in 2007 by President Bush.

“I don’t think CFLs are going to wind up saving that much energy and they’re certainly much more harmful to public health,” said Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) in an interview with the WSJ’s Opinion Journal, referring to mercury inside CFLs and the higher price tags. “I don’t think the country wants Congress to tell them what kind of light bulb to use.”

Some have argued that the small amounts of mercury inside CFLs, if they break, do not pose health danger. The EPA has spoken in the past about the need to recycle CFLs to keep the mercury out of landfills; it has also argued that CFLs actually emit less mercury because they use less energy from coal-burning plants, which emit large amounts of mercury into the air.

If you wondered what Republican control of the House means for cleantech, then this is a good case to consider. The argument from politicians and certain constituents seems to be that they disagree with government limitation of their energy choices and argue that CFLs can cause health problems like headaches. There’s been similar types of antagonistic sentiment over smart meter rollouts and government support for research and implementation of renewables. If the “let me choose my own energy” side wins, though, it could slow down efforts to bring the country closer to President Obama’s goal of 80 percent renewable energy by 2035.

One political activist site, Freedom Action, released a statement calling the legislation an “outrageous ban” and “outrageous government limitation on consumer choice and intrusion into the home of every American.”

Not everyone knows about efficiency legislation that will effectively phase out incandescent light bulbs, although Ikea said in January it will no longer sell them.

A survey conducted by Harris Interactive this year found that 61 percent of Americans aren't aware of this legislation. A Wall Street Journal editorial from 2009 argued that CFLs aren't advanced enough to completely replace incandescents. LED makers have seen technological improvements and price drops over the past few years. Companies like Bridgelux say there’s increasing demand for LED solutions in retail settings, where lights are on for 16 to 24 hours and companies are looking for ways to trim their electricity bills and environmental footprint.

SOURCE: venturebeat , PICTURE: buildinggreen

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Market Overton cuts street lighting bill with LED lamps

A Rutland village has cut its energy bills by almost 80% by switching to more efficient lighting.

Market Overton's street lighting bill fell from about £80 in October 2010 to about £15 in November.

The savings are as a result of replacing the village's old sodium street lights with modern light emitting diode (LED) lamps.

The parish council also turns off some of the village lights between midnight and 0500 GMT to further reduce bills.

Parish councillor Andrew Stewart said: "We still have the lights on at important junctions and places you would need to see.

"Turning 80% of them off at midnight has really helped to save money and to cut our carbon footprint."

The parish council updated its 39 street lamps at a cost of £20,215 with about a quarter of the cost being met by a Rural Community Council grant.

Councillors said the village would no longer receive a quarterly £600 bill for maintenance and the lamps were guaranteed for 12 years and expected to last for 20 years.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sanyo to switch off Piccadilly neon

LONDON (Kyodo) Sanyo Europe Ltd. will take down by the end of this year its large neon-light advertisement at Piccadilly Circus in central London, company officials said Monday.

Sanyo first mounted an ad in 1978 at Piccadilly Circus, which, like Times Square in New York, is famous for major corporate billboards. It switched to a 116-sq.-meter neon display in 1984, making it the oldest among the five single-company ads at the site.

Sanyo's pullout will leave only one Japanese business, TDK Corp., represented there.

A public relations officer of Sanyo Europe said the company had been requested by the owner of the ad space to switch to a video-enabled screen, but it didn't see the need to make such a change.

Other companies, including Coca-Cola of the United States and the Samsung group of South Korea, have switched to video screens.


Thursday, February 17, 2011


Small businesses in the Okanagan and Kootenays can now upgrade to energy-efficient lighting systems at virtually no cost, thanks to a new program sponsored by the Province of British Columbia and FortisBC.

‘FLIP’ stands for the FortisBC/LiveSmartBC Lighting Installation Program. The $5-million program will arrange for and provide eligible small businesses with the direct installation of up to $5,500 in energy-efficient equipment such as lamps, occupancy sensors and controls.

“FLIP is one of the first big initiatives to be funded from our LiveSmart BC: Small Business Program,” said Minister of Energy Steve Thomson. “We know small business owners are busy, and this program makes the installation of energy-efficient lighting as easy as possible. We’re starting here in the Okanagan but are working to extend these types of direct installation services right across B.C.”

“At FortisBC, we are committed to energy-efficiency programs that meet our customer’s current and future energy needs,” said Michael Mulcahy, executive vice president of customer and corporate services for FortisBC and Terasen Gas. “The potential to conserve energy within the small businesses sector is significant. By removing barriers such as upfront costs, we can address this underserved sector and create lasting benefits.”

The FLIP program is available to small and mid-size businesses that have spent less than $20,000 in electricity over the preceding 12 months. FortisBC-approved contractors will visit participating small businesses to perform lighting audits, identify potential upgrades, and schedule licensed electricians to install the equipment and systems.

The average small business is expected to save nearly 8,000 kilowatt hours per year, or more than $800 annually. The FLIP program hopes to reach 1,000 small businesses over the next two years and reduce total electricity use by nearly nine gigawatt hours – enough electricity to power 450 small businesses annually.

Ministry of Energy

Fore more information go on


Monday, February 14, 2011

Market for LED luminaires exceeded $3.8 billion in 2010, says Strategies Unlimited

With a compound annual growth rate of 22%, the LED luminaire market will reach $8.3 billion in 2014.

Growth rates among different applications will vary, but the total global market for LED luminaires is expected to grow to $8.3 billion by 2014, according to a new report from Strategies Unlimited.

The report, entitled “LED Luminaires, Market Analysis & Forecast,” includes nine LED lighting application segments, and analyzes the period from 2008 to 2014.

According to the Mountain View, CA-based research firm, a number of factors have created conditions for the adoption of white-light LED applications, which otherwise would have faced the low-volume, high-cost conundrum.

These factors include rapid improvements in performance and price of commercially-available high-brightness LED packages; heightened awareness about energy efficiency; phasing out of incandescent bulbs; and fiscal stimulus undertaken by various countries around the world,

Quality issues that affected the market penetration of previous energy-efficient lighting technologies continue to affect this market. However, the resolve to reduce energy consumption is likely to propel LED technology to be widely commercialized and adopted by the market.

For many applications, the quality of LEDs has improved to a point that performance is no longer an issue. Instead, the main issue is now the price of designing LEDs into luminaires.

Strategies Unlimited says that China is the largest market for, as well as the largest supplier of, LED luminaires. Other points discussed in the report include:

  • Being the most efficient light-source technology for battery-powered applications requiring a directional beam of light, consumer-portable applications were the largest segment of the LED luminaire market in 2010.

  • Color and color-changing applications in architectural and entertainment segments together had revenues of more than $1 billion in 2010.

  • Although starting from a small base, residential lighting is expected to be the fastest-growing segment of the market, with a CAGR of 44% through 2014.

  • Global revenues for LED luminaires in commercial/industrial applications are expected to exceed $1 billion in 2011.

  • Outdoor-area lighting applications, which benefitted from fiscal stimulus and the need for energy conservation, are expected to grow at a CAGR of 38% through 2014.

  • Solar-powered lanterns will be a low-margin, high-volume application, assisted by non-government organizations (NGOs) and governments trying to save fuel subsidies.

  • LED exit signs have become a mature market in the US, and are in the initial stage of market penetration for white-light egress-signage lighting outside the US.

“LED Luminaires, Market Analysis & Forecast” is the latest report from Strategies Unlimited covering the LED and lighting markets.

FROM LEDs Magazine. ( )

Monday, February 7, 2011

Gallium nitride defect reduction technique improves LEDs (From LEDs magazine and ElectroIQ Article)

Researchers from North Carolina State University have now developed a new technique that reduces defects in the gallium nitride (GaN) films used to create LEDs, making them more efficient.
This article was originally published on LEDs magazine and ElectroIQ.

LEDs are an increasingly popular technology for use in energy-efficient lighting. Researchers from North Carolina State University have now developed a new technique that reduces defects in the gallium nitride (GaN) films used to create LEDs, making them more efficient.

LED lighting relies on GaN thin films to create the diode structure that produces light. The new technique reduces the number of defects in those films by two to three orders of magnitude. "This improves the quality of the material that emits light," says Dr. Salah Bedair, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State and co-author, with NC State materials science professor Nadia El-Masry, of a paper describing the research. "For a given input of electrical power, the output of light can be increased by a factor of two." This is particularly true for low electrical power input and for LEDs emitting in the ultraviolet range.
(most details on