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These Hyper-Efficient Lightbulbs Have A Built-In Dimmer, For Even More Savings

A lot of efficient lightbulbs are hard to rig up to dim. Problem solved.

For something as mundane as an energy-efficient lightbulb, the Nanolight did surprisingly well on Kickstarter last year. Developed by three independent engineers, Gimmy Chu, Tom Rodinger, Christian Yan, the dodecahedron-shaped design raised $273,278 from 5,746 backers.

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Two things made the Nanolight stand out: its strange looks (the bulb is made from printed circuit board, which is encrusted with LED lights), and its energy performance. Using just 12 watts to produce 1600 lumens, it has almost double the efficiency as standard energy-efficient bulbs.

Now the bulb’s creators have come up with a light that has its own dimming system. The Nanoleaf Bloom is dimmable with a conventional switch, no need for rewiring. To set it at the required level, you turn the light on, then quickly off and on again.

“We have a custom microprocessor built into the bulb that detects the break in AC power,” explains marketing director Sunny Han. “If the break in AC power is within 0.5 seconds, it is treated as a control signal allowing the user to control the brightness. If the break is longer than 0.5 seconds, then the bulb simply turns off, just like a regular light bulb.”

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The engineers are promoting a second Kickstarter campaign for the bulb. See their video here:

Dimming lights, of course, saves energy and money. The bulb requires only 2.5 watts at 50% brightness, or 0.5 watts at 5% brightness, Han says. That translates to just $0.38 a year at the 50% level, or only a quarter of the power needed at 100% brightness. The Nanoleafs themselves cost $40 as part of the Kickstarter campaign.

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Not everyone was impressed with the quality of the product that the engineers released last year. Reviewers complained that the bulbs produced an offputting green light, and that performance didn’t match what was promised. Han, however, says these issues are now corrected.

“The green hue in the light was immediately fixed, and people who reached out to us about this light color received replacements,” he says. “The [light] is a nice warm white that is perfect for the home.”

It would certainly be a shame if the reality didn’t match the hype because the Nanoleaf looks like a useful, money-saving idea.

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About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.

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