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The End of Incandescence

Published: September 14, 2010
We take a look at the incandescent bulb as it becomes a thing of the past.

Changing light bulbs
GE recently announced that it´s closing the last U.S. plant producing incandescent light bulbs. In their place will be more environmentally-friendly bulbs, like compact fluorescents (CFLs), which lower energy costs up to 75% but are produced largely off our shores. In fact, by 2014 the U.S. will essentially have banned the sale of classic light bulbs. To honor the incandescent, we´ve compiled a list of historical facts, good green know-how, and money-saving opportunities all about the light bulb.
  • Year Humphry Davy demonstrated the arc lamp, a light bulb precursor: 1806
  • Number of materials Edison tested to find the right filament to electrically produce light in his bulb: 1,600
  • Number of watts a CFL bulb needs to produce the same light as a 60w incandescent: 13
  • Amount of mercury waste produced by fluorescent bulbs in landfills: nearly 30,000 pounds
  • Number of sealed plastic bags the EPA recommends wrapping a CFL in before disposal: 2
LEDs are likely to be the future of energy-efficient lighting. But we´re not there yet. The chief factor restricting more widespread LED adoption: high price.

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