General Electric, the granddaddy of light bulbs, has developed an LED replacement for 40-watt bulbs that can last for 17 years.
GE on Thursday unveiled the Energy Smart LED bulb that puts out 450 lumens--about the same output as a 40-watt incandescent--while consuming 9 watts.
The company plans to show off the LED bulb at upcoming lighting conferences and to start selling it by this fall or early next year. It is expected to cost $40 to $50.
LED lights tend to give off light in a specific direction, which is why they are often used for spot lighting. The GE light has a shape that looks like fingers wrapped around a traditional bulb and is designed to disperse light. Prototypes of the bulb will be fitted with an LED lamp from LED component manufacturer Cree.
The bulb is rated for 25,000 hours which, if used four hours a day, means it will last for 17 years. The other advantages of LED bulbs are that they don't need to warm up to give off full light, are cooler than incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs, and do not contain mercury.
"This is a bulb that can virtually light your kid's bedroom desk lamp from birth through high school graduation," John Strainic, global product general manager of GE Lighting, said in a statement. He added that the bulb is designed to satisfy consumers who are reluctant to move from incandescent bulbs because they like the light quality.
Because of their relative energy efficiency and durability, LED lights are expected to start replacing other technologies more rapidly this year, particularly in commercial settings.
As LEDs reach the output of 40-watt and 60-watt incandescent, lighting companies are also planning general-purpose LED replacements for traditional screw-in bulbs. Osram Sylvania, for example, plans to introduce an LED replacement for a 60-watt incandescent this spring.
The high up-front cost, however, remains a barrier to broader adoption. Lighting manufacturers expect that sales will be driven by consumers' interest in efficient, long-lasting bulbs and by more stringent national efficiency standards.