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A World Record for Energy-Efficient Lighting

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On Thursday, Philips announced that it has developed the world’s most efficient “warm white” LED lamp. Designed to replace the fluorescent tube lighting that is ubiquitous in offices and industrial facilities, the new TLED (tube-style light emitting diode) has the potential to reduce worldwide energy consumption by more than 7%.

Innovation in the LED lighting industry is generally measured in terms of two categories – cost reductions and efficiency improvements. The former is reflected in the final price tag. The latter is measured in terms of “lumens per watt,” describing the amount of visible light that a source emits at a certain rate of energy consumption.

According to a Philips, their new prototype tube lighting produces 200 lumens per watt (200 lm/W). And it is expected to cost only slightly more than the equivalent strip lighting set-up (at 100 lm/W). Traditional bulbs only produce 15 lm/W.

But, the arguably more significant accomplishment with Philip’s new TLED is that it produces warm white (~2700K) light, the type of light prehat most people prefer for indoor lighting. An easy way to increase the efficiency of a bulb design is to increase the color temperature. So, the fact that Phillips managed to keep the temperature in this lower range, while still hitting the 200 lm/W rating, is even more impressive.

Globally, building lighting represents 15-19% of total energy consumption and florescent tube lighting accounts for more than half of the lighting market. In the context of Thursday’s announcement – if Philips’s new bulb makes it to market by the summer of 2015, it will have the potential to reduce worldwide energy use by more than 7%.

Photo Credit:

1. Photo of Coen Liedenbaum at Philips Research shows the first prototype TLED, providing 200 lumens per watt with high quality of light courtesy of Philips.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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