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Philips' New Green 12-Watt LED Bulbs Could Replace 425 Million 60-Watt Energy Hogs

philips 12w LEDPhilips has just unveiled what it's calling the "world's first LED replacement for [the] most common household bulb," taking aim at the aging, inefficient 60W gizmo that's been lighting our homes since forever. This is the future of lighting, people.

Philips lifted the veil—or perhaps, pulled back the shutter—on its new EnduraLED effort at the Lightfair International tradeshow, but it'll be a few months until it's piling onto shelves in consumer hardware stores. In fact, it'll arrive right at the end of this year in the U.S., but that's still months ahead of upcoming legislation that requires more efficient lighting systems.

We've been hearing about supposedly magic LED lights for a while now, but Philips is noting that the 12W Endura unit is a direct swap-in replacement for the most common 60W bulb in use—over 425 million of which are sold in the U.S. every year, making up some 50% of the bulb sales market. These bulbs, while cheap and reliable, have a limited lifespan and such a horrendous inefficiency in turning electrical energy into useful light that they're being phased out for the sake of economic and environmental protection all around the world. They were temporarily replaced by a glut of compact fluorescent units, as you'll know ... but technologically these units aren't ideal, and the light they deliver is often un-dimmable, and very artificial-looking to the human eye.

Hence the interest in LEDs. Philips is noting it had to call in the scientists to perfect the "remote phosphor" technology (the magic that makes these units glow in soft white colors) in the new white LEDs inside the Endura bulbs, as well as working to get the optical light-casting performance of the bulbs up to standard. The resulting units are suitably high-tech looking, and each can "deliver up to 80% energy savings and last 25 times longer than its century-old predecessor." Each unit will cost much more than its glass and filament 60W incandescent ancestor, but a lifespan of some 25,000 hours (three years permanently lit, or about 10 years or so of "normal" use) combined with the electricity savings you'll make will compensate for the price.

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