Bulb tar­geted by de­mand for light with­out heat

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Resources -

THE in­can­des­cent light bulb, in use for 125 years, should be phased out within a decade to help im­prove en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and com­bat global warm­ing, ac­cord­ing to Siemens AG, the sec­ond largest maker of light­ing prod­ucts.

New US stan­dards will ren­der in­can­des­cent bulbs ob­so­lete, says Char­lie Jer­abek, pres­i­dent of the Os­ram Syl­va­nia unit of Siemens. He be­lieves tech­nolo­gies such as LEDs or com­pact flu­o­res­cents hold more prom­ise than mak­ing in­can­des­cents more ef­fi­cient, as ri­val Gen­eral Elec­tric has pro­posed.

‘‘ Quite can­didly, we are not aware of how they would do that,’’ Jer­abek said of Gen­eral Elec­tric’s plan to con­tinue mak­ing the tra­di­tional bulbs in the face of tougher en­ergy ef­fi­ciency re­quire­ments. ‘‘ We are not so keen on try­ing to pro­mote the longer life of that light bulb,’’ Jer­abek said. Os­ram Syl­va­nia re­lies on in­can­des­cents for 10 per cent of its sales. Aus­tralia wants them banned by 2010.

Grow­ing cer­tainty that the burn­ing of fos­sil fu­els is warm­ing the Earth’s at­mos­phere has spawned pro­pos­als from gov­ern­ments and in­dus­try to con­serve en­ergy. Last week the US House En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee ap­proved a mea­sure backed by Royal Philips Elec­tron­ics NV, Mu­nich-based Siemens and en­ergy ef­fi­ciency ad­vo­cates to raise light­ing ef­fi­ciency by about 30 per cent by 2014 and by 75 per cent by 2020. The rules could lead to an­nual US sav­ings of 65 bil­lion kilo­watt-hours of elec­tric­ity and a $6 bil­lion cut in con­sumer elec­tric bills, says Jeff Har­ris, vice pres­i­dent of pro­grams at the US’s Al­liance to Save En­ergy.

Gen­eral Elec­tric, the third-largest light­ing pro­ducer world­wide and the top pro­ducer in the US, did not sign on to the plan. GE spokes­woman Kim Free­man re­jected the idea that the in­can­des­cent bulb is nearly ob­so­lete. She said GE would make an in­can­des­cent bulb twice as ef­fi­cient as to­day’s by 2010, and four times more ef­fi­cient by 2012 — but ac­knowl­edged that if in­can­des­cent bulbs could not meet new stan­dards then they would fall by the way­side.

GE in­vented flu­o­res­cent and light-emit­ting diode (LED) tech­nol­ogy, and claims it is the largest man­u­fac­turer of com­pact flu­o­res­cent lamps in the US, but also has the largest mar­ket share of in­can­des­cent lamps. Com­pact flu­o­res­cent lights to­day are about eight times dearer than in­can­des­cent bulbs, last about eight times longer, and use three to five times less en­ergy. In­can­des­cents are less ef­fi­cient be­cause they con­vert some 90 per cent of en­ergy used into heat. not light. Bloomberg

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