Not Your Grandma’s CFL – The Brain Compact Fluorescent Lamp

From Belarusian design team Solovyov Design comes an awesome bit of compact fluorescent goodness that breaks the mold of the typical corkscrew-shaped glass envelope.  Meet the Insight CFL from Solovyov Design:

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I love seeing photos of the design team after meeting their lighting product for the first time.  It’s almost like seeing into someone’s soul before you see their face.  LOVE IT!  Meet Solovyov Design chief designers Maria and Igor Solovyov.  Maria, Igor — JimOnLight loves your work!

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The Daily Lamp – Hulger’s Pharaoh Pendant Series for Lightyears

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Today’s Daily Lamp is a very elegant design by Hulger for the Danish lighting company Lightyears — from the Lightyears website:

Pharaoh is a unique pendant light created for the beautifully designed and eye-catching Plumen 001 light source. Pharaoh’s aim has been to gently frame and enhance the expression of the Plumen light source, preventing glare, and ensure optimum luminous efficiency.

In addition to a precise, harmonious shape, Pharaoh is impressive in its unusual and spectacular form. When the lamp is switched off, the shade appears to be mirror-like, reflective and robust. And yet, the moment the lamp is switched on, the shade takes on a metallic transparency, thereby making the light source visible. The transformation between illuminated and non-illuminated is truly remarkable with Pharaoh really optimising this unique light source.

In stores from May 2013

The really twisty light source you see in there is called Plumen – the designer CFL. This thing is also pretty cool, check it out:

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This is a really sleek, elegant pendant!  I likie!  This is Hulger’s first commission for Lightyears, and I hope the next ones are as awesome as Pharaoh!

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Beautiful!

hulger03Thanks to DesignBoom for the initial post!

Artificial Moon in Xujiahui Park

“Artificial Moon” by Wang Yuyang uses various fluorescent light bulbs to create a400 cm (>13 feet) representation of our moon, complete with representations of craters, maria, and rims. Even stronger than the piece itself to me is the choice of location for this piece in 2008, Xujiahui’s park, one of the last remaining park areas in the city. Due to light pollution the moon can rarely be seen in the Shanghai skies, which makes this representation so much more powerful. It has since 2007 been displayed in other locations as well. Check it out!

 

Thanks, Art Hub Asia and Transmediale!

GE Invents A CFL/Halogen Lamp?! Wait, What?

I just got a press release on a new upcoming lamp from GE.  This image was in the press release:

Everybody, I think we just saw the results of a drunken lamp party in which compact fluorescent lamps and halogen lamps learned how to be sentient and mate, producing the above (and below) results:

I am so confused and curious.  Let’s hope I see this at LDI.  Apparently the 15-20W CFL/Halogen hybrid lamp is supposed to replace the output from a 60W incandescent.  The halogen capsule inside?  It apparently only lights up until the CFL is at full output.  Oh, also – they claim a low percentage of Mercury (or HYDRARGYRUM, for those in the know).

The press release from GE – and since I don’t normally post press releases, you know that I find it interesting if it makes the site!

CLEVELAND, OH (October 20, 2010)—Consumers searching for the latest hybrid can soon look beyond their local car dealership. Starting in 2011, GE Lighting brings hybrid technology to the lighting aisle in the form of a unique, new incandescent-shaped light bulb that combines the instant brightness of halogen technology with the energy efficiency and longer rated life of compact fluorescent (CFL) technology.

The initial product launch will bring U.S. and Canadian consumers GE Reveal® and GE Energy Smart® Soft White varieties that offer significantly greater instant brightness than current covered CFLs, while preserving the energy efficiency and long life attributes that have elevated CFLs as a lighting staple in many households.

“When you look at our prototype incandescent-shaped bulb with that little halogen capsule nestled inside our smallest compact fluorescent tube, you’re seeing a byproduct of our intense customer focus and our innovation mindset,” says Kristin Gibbs, general manager of North American consumer marketing, GE Lighting. “We’ve constantly improved the initial brightness of our CFLs but customers haven’t been wholly satisfied. This is a giant leap forward.”

The halogen capsule inside GE’s new hybrid halogen-CFL bulb comes on instantly, allowing the bulb to operate noticeably brighter in less than a half a second. The capsule shuts off once the CFL comes to full brightness.

GE scientists engineered the bulb to operate with an exceptionally low level of mercury: 1 mg. Currently available CFLs range from 1.5 mg to 3.5 mg. The hybrid halogen-CFL bulbs will be RoHS compliant and offer eight times the life of incandescent bulbs (8,000 hours vs. 1,000 hours). Less frequent replacement due to longer light bulb life can reduce landfill waste.

First to launch will be 15-watt and 20-watt hybrid halogen-CFL bulbs that are considered viable replacements for 60-watt and 75-watt incandescent bulbs, respectively. Retail pricing and specific retail store availability will be announced in the coming months.

What? Ohio Public Utilities Commission and FirstEnergy’s $10.80 Stupidity

What?

Have you ever had a volunteer come to your door with a free compact fluorescent lamp?  When my wife and I lived in Oklahoma City,  a community program volunteer brought a free compact fluorescent lamp to our house for us to have and use in order to save energy.  How nice, right?  We thought so.  A public utility, FirstEnergy in Ohio, set up a program (that was approved by the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, by the way) that distributes compact fluorescent lamps to customers in Ohio.

Cool program, right?  Free fluorescent lamps for all.  Except they’re not free – FirstEnergy will be charging their customers $10.80 each for the lamps, automatically, with no opt-out program.  Hold on a minute – for $10 I can go down to Target, Home Depot, or Lowes’ and buy a half-dozen compact fluorescent lamps.  What’s with this $10.80 per lamp crap?

Last year, the Ohio state government passed a bill saying that utilities had to cut their customers’ usage 22% by the year 2025.  Apparently this is how FirstEnergy is going about reducing energy usage – by charging customers way, way too much for something that people can buy on their own for 1/6 the price.

An article from John Funk at the Plain Dealer in Cleveland states:

FirstEnergy bought Chinese-made bulbs from three distributors including TCP Inc. of Aurora, because it couldn’t find any made in the United States. A California company will deliver 3 million of them door-to-door to Illuminating Co., Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison customers. The rest will be mailed.

Passing out the bulbs is not the way to persuade people to use them, Migden-Ostrander said. The company should have given its customers discount coupons and let them shop for the best deal, she said.

The company’s lawyers resisted that, arguing that FirstEnergy had to begin cutting back power deliveries right away to meet the terms of the new law.

Hmm.  You know what really sucks about this?  If you have seen the letter from FirstEnergy VP of Customer Service John Paganie, it seems like they’re giving these lamps away for free:

We are pleased to provide you with two energy-efficient CFLs. When you install these bulbs in place of two 100-watt incandescent bulbs in your home, you could save about $30 over the life of each bulb.  Here’s how:

Traditional incandescent bulbs cost less to buy than CFLs, but they might only last 750 hours. Your new CFLs should last 10,000 hours, which is 10 times as long. This means you would need to buy more than 13 traditional bulbs to equal the lifespan of one CFL.

Also, your new CFLs will use 75 percent less electricity than a standard 100-watt incandescent bulb, and will produce the same amount of light. When you combine the longer life and decreased energy usage of the CFL, you can see significant, long-term savings for each bulb you replace.

FirstEnergy’s Ohio utility companies – The Illuminating Company, Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison – are providing these light bulbs to residential customers in Ohio.

We’re dedicated to helping our customers reduce the amount of electricity they use while increasing their energy efficiency. These CFLs are just one simple way you can improve energy efficiency in your home. We’ve also enclosed a booklet with more than 100 energy-saving tips.
For additional information, please visit firstenergycorp.com/energyefficiency.

Thanks, and enjoy your two compact fluorescent light bulbs!

Sincerely,
John Paganie
FirstEnergy Vice President of Energy Efficiency and Customer Service

What the hell.  Doesn’t this seem like a bit of a misleading statement?  I think it does, and apparently thousands of Ohioans also thought it did, because the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, who approved the program in the first place, has turned around and said that they have now asked FirstEnergy to postpone the start of the program until someone knows what on Earth it is going to cost, and what exactly is going on.  From the Consumerist website, a pro-consumer news site (I’m sure you know who they are), who posted the response from the PUCO on the FirstEnergy backlash:

“The PUCO has received a large volume of calls and emails in response to the compact fluorescent light bulb program approved last month for FirstEnergy. Today, I received a letter from Gov. Strickland asking that the PUCO postpone the program until such time as we can address several questions raised by the governor, members of the Ohio General Assembly and FirstEnergy customers related to program details and costs.

As a result, I have asked FirstEnergy to postpone deployment of its compact fluorescent light bulb program until the Commission can thoroughly assess the costs associated with this program. The PUCO approved the program following consensus reached during discussions among the company and other organizations including the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Although the PUCO allowed FirstEnergy to implement its program, we did not approve the charge that will appear on monthly bills as a result. Reports in the media place the cost to customers at sixty cents per month for three years, which equates to $21.60 over the life of the program. The PUCO has not approved these additional dollars nor have we received a request by the company to do so.

The PUCO will gather additional information regarding the program and its related costs. Until the PUCO has specific details regarding the program costs, FirstEnergy should not deploy its compact fluorescent light bulb program.”

I’ll be watching for more information on this ridiculance. If you have any more news about the program, please contact me via the contact form and I will get that info published right now.

A record of the legal case for this ridiculance is here – it’s a dry read, but interesting nonetheless.

Ariel Rojo’s Cerdo Ahorrador – The Cutest Pig Light Ever

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Ariel Rojo’s design studio has produced Cerdo Ahorrador – or translated for people who slaughter the Spanish language, “really adorable little pig bank/light.”  The fixture contains two things that are useful to society – a light source (cute little piggy tail!) and a coin bank, which we could all use a little practice in utilizing.  From Ariel’s studio website:

Piggy energy bank is not just a lamp, it is a message inspired in our ecological awareness and our interest in taking the steps to avoid the world energy crisis.  Ariel Rojo Design Studio combined 2 elements that are not normally related to one other: a piggy bank and an energy saving lamp. This 2 icons translate into a brilliant idea to increase the awareness about the immediate importance of energy saving.

The MoMA museum store has Cerdo Ahorrador for ninety bucks.  So much on saving some money, eh?

When you see the pictures below, do they have the quality of LIGHT UP PIG REVOLUTION to you like they do to me?

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Thanks, Tina!

Can’t Please Everyone All The Time, I Guess – Municipal Lighting Edition

I have been getting a kick out of a few news articles posted lately about municipal whining regarding LEDs and “energy efficient” lighting applications.  Lots of places across the country are installing LED based street lighting, CFL lighting in office and government buildings, high bay LED and CFL lighting, and other energy saving applications of LED technology.  It’s not making everyone happy for whatever reason.  It’s a subtle and gentle reminder that all of us will never be happy at one time.

Isn’t that a shame?

First up, the Kennebunkport Street Light Committee in (you guessed it) Kennebunkport, Maine made a plan to shut off 94 of the city’s 201 street lights.  Oh, are residents unhappy with this decision!  My first question would be about safety and visibility, as would yours I assume.  A valid question, methinks, right?  The residents of Kennebunkport are advocating for buying a bunch of LED street lights instead of turning some of the existing ones off, which kind of refutes the plan to save money right now.  Okay, it would be a long-term investment, yes – but it’s certainly not gonna be savings that anyone is going to reap any time soon.

The Kennebunkport police department showed the residents some statistics of accident data collected over the last five years to show them that there isn’t a correlation between night time driving and street light use in the town.  The town will save about $110 bucks for each light decommissioned, or about $10,300.  I wonder what they’re going to do?

(thanks WMTW)

Last but not least for now, residents of Fort Collins, Colorado are unhappy with their new energy efficient lighting in city government offices and council chambers.  Fort Collins just spent about a million dollars changing out all of their city government lighting to energy efficient CFLs.  From an article at The Coloradoan:

The last building to get switched over was City Hall, where the City Council conducts its business on most Tuesday nights. Bulbs installed in the council’s chambers changed the lighting in the room from a fairly muted yellow to a noticeably brighter, bluish tinge.

The difference has been noticed – and not altogether favorably – by residents who regularly attend council meetings as well as council members.

Community activist Stacy Lynne told the council Tuesday the room’s atmosphere had gone from one that evoked a sense of “peace and calmness” to one that is “sterile, cold and induces a sense of agitation” because of the glare from the lights.

“Is that the environment you want to create for a meeting place that inherently produces strong emotion?” she said. “Does that make common sense?”

Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Ohlson responded that the change in the view from the council’s dais brought on by the bulbs was “borderline creepy.”

The city’s intentions toward saving energy “were absolutely right on the money,” he said, but he agreed the lighting wasn’t quite right.

“In this particular case, I think we’re going to have to balance as much as possible the aesthetics and the comfort zone,” he said.

City crews switched out 52 fixtures in the council chambers, said Tracy Ochsner of operation services. The fixtures are on a dimmer switch and do not have to be cranked up to full power, he said.

Hmm.  At least the camera ops like it:

He noted that camera operators with cable television Channel 14, which broadcasts council sessions and other public meetings from the room, like the brighter lights.

Well, at least someone likes it.

*sigh*

The Whole World v. The Incandescent Lamp

We’ve been reading over the last year or so about the war on incandescent lamps – people preach hate for them but people buy them in droves.  Why is this?  A good reasoning is money, money, and money – To buy a 6-pack of regular incandescent lamps (not Reveals or energy efficient models) costs about as much as a stick of beef jerky at the gas station.  When you’re living month to month, week to week, or unfortunately day to day as many of our fellow Americans are doing, a six pack of light bulbs for $1.12 seems a lot more cost efficient when looking at a $4.00 compact fluorescent or even a $40.00 LED replacement.

Your next question should be something along the lines of “but you’ll save so much down the road if you buy something energy efficient!” and you’d be right – but when you’re staring down debt in the face and trying to fight to stay in your home, generic peanut butter sounds better than none at all, know what I mean?

But never mind all that – what about those of us designers who think that the incandescent lamp should be an available choice?  A lot of us feel that “banning” the incandescent lamp is a bit rash of a decision – including the IALD.  There is no good replacement product for them yet.  It’s a poor decision, in my very humble opinion – and the public still wants incandescent light.  Whether it’s cheaper, people prefer them over the cold and sometimes green light that CFLs bring into homes, or lighting designers want to have incandescent choices, incandescents are certainly popular.  But that’s like saying margarine is popular.

When the US Congress passed the New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 3221), and the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act (H.R. 2776), lots and lots of people wrote, and I’m paraphrasing here:

Oh, lordy lordy, the incandescent lamp is so dead it’s mummified!  Viva la 2012!

*Ahem*

Other folks realized that these new standards that just got passed virtually make it so that no current incandescent lamp on the market would meet the standard requirements.  Seems like an obvious concern, doesn’t it?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naive or stupid with respect to this subject.  What we need is something that is way bright, gives us the color temperature we want, isn’t a zillion dollars per unit, and consumes as little electricity as possible.  What we have right now, in a feasible, sellable form, are incandescent lamps, which give off heat and consume lots of electricity; LED lamps, which have great color, output is improving, and consumption is ridiculously low with a long lamp life; and CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) sources that can put off really terrible color, contain mercury, and are difficult to dispose of properly.  They also rock the consumption rate, but they have their problems.

Well, the bills passed by the Congress certainly put new standards to meet, that is no lie.  What this has done, as things always do when pushed to meet a deadline, is force companies to take the regular ol’ incandescent lamp and turn it into something that acts efficiently, people like, and is cost effective.  GE put out an improved version of the incandescent, the HEI – or High Efficieny Incandescent, which is lacking in title creativity but not good intentions.  Philips just put out an energy saving incandescent, the halogen Energy Saver line.  It’s 70 watts and emits the same amount of illumination as a 100 watt lamp.

Ok, that’s a start! However, at this new 70 watt efficiency, the CFL world is still consuming 75% less than it.

Scientists are starting to see growth in the really horrible (comparatively, of course) incandescent output of 15 lumens per watt – they’re up to twice that now.  There’s tough competition in the LED and CFL categories for consumption levels for incandescent lamps, but we’ve just started.  It is a real shame though that it took some competition to get a train of thought started on improving incandescent lamp efficiencies, isn’t it?

What are your thoughts on this subject?  Please post in the comments below!

Sources: 1 2 3 4 5

Styro Light – Apple’s Packaging Put to A Second Use

Eric Lawrence won a Sustainable Award from Design Within Reach Austin’s M+D+F competition recently for the Styro Light – his fixture that was created using the styrofoam packaging corners from Apple laptops.  I think this is a well-exhibited design – the frame is aluminum, and there are 16 5W dimmable compact fluorescents illuminating the space.

Check out a few picures of this work – great job, Eric!

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Thanks, Unplugged!