Some consumers never warmed up to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), no matter how many energy advantages they had over old fashioned incandescents. Now, GE is agreeing with them.
In a post, the company said it would stop making CFLs for the U.S. market and concentrate its efforts for consumer lighting on LED lamps.
CFLs were heralded as a much more efficient replacement for incandescent bulbs when they were introduced in the mid-1980s, and at one time accounted for 30% of light bulb sales in the U.S. They convert 15% to 20% of the electricity they consume into light, compared with just 5% for standard incandescent bulbs, and they last much longer. But by last year, their market share had declined to half of its peak.
LEDs cost as much as $50 just a few years ago, the GE site said, but a 60-watt equivalent LED now sells for $3.33 at Sam’s Club, and GE expects LEDs will be used in more than 50% of all lamp sockets by 2020.
“These LED lightbulbs are starting to replicate what the electrical filament has done for over 100 years — providing that look and warm ambience that people are used to,” GE Lighting chief operating officer John Strainic said. “The time for LED is now.”
LEDs use solid-state parts to generate light, and unlike CFLs they do not contain any mercury. GE says a LED has a 22-year life span, meaning a single bulb can see a child from infancy through college graduation.
The New York Times reported retailers including Sam’s Club and Walmart already are moving away from CFLs as they embrace LED technology, while Ikea made the switch last year by abandoning CFLs altogether.
LEDs represent the digital future of lighting. GE’s started selling an internet-connected light bulb called LInk, which could be controlled with a smartphone through a hub, in 2014. Last fall, the company announced a new line of connected LEDs called C. According to the website Gizmodo, these bulbs work without a hub and change the temperature of the light based on the time of day. One version of the C bulb, the Sleep, is designed to help regulate the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that helps induce sleep.