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.

Ed Hammer, Father of the CFL

I just read a really interesting article at CNET about Ed Hammer, the father of the compact fluorescent lamp, or “CFL,” as it’s affectionately called.  The CFL – an invention that got shelved at its birth because of a $25 million bill for manufacturing.

Check out the article.  Thanks, CNET! Consumer Reports also has an interesting article with Ed Hammer, in the format of ten questions for Ed.

Ed Hammer, Father of the CFL, apparently also does a podcast on the technology at – although there haven’t been any posts since June.

Earth 911 – Where Do YOU Recycle Your Lamps?

I stumbled upon this website – Earth 911 – when looking for a place to recycle some CFLs.  The great thing about it is that you only need type in what you need to recycle and where you live – and it spits out a bunch of places near you that have recycling programs.

That is a wonderful thing.

Gutting Old CLFs

As we all know, CFLs are difficult to recycle, even though they have their good qualities.  According to Instructables user “unknownpocketnerd,” we now know how to cannibalize a CFL for parts to make a Joule Thief and a small step down DC converter from CFL guts!  Thanks, unknownpocketnerd!

Check out the CFL cannibalization Instructable.

Unknownpocketnerd has 4 instructables, check them out.

Home Depot and the CFL Recycling Dilemma

Most lighting professionals know the dangers of compact fluorescent lamps after their useful lives – mercury remaining in the lamp can leak in landfills and leave a lasting and permanent mar on the earth.  In order to help combat this unfortunate aspect of an energy-saving light source, Home Depot has started a recycling program for CFL’s at all 1,973 of their stores in the US, creating the largest and most widespread recycling program for CFL’s to date.

From a lighting designer’s point of view, it’s great to save energy (and $$$) by using CFL’s, but they’re definitely not the prettiest source available for the home.  Nowadays I guess it might be fashionable to surpass cost for beauty – but I work in an industry that consumes electricity like electricians consume beers, so beauty is often the more important aspect of a light source.  Don’t get me wrong, the usefulness of CFL’s can help the average household can save between $12 and $20 per month by switching to CFL’s.

Check out the excellent article from the New York Times on Home Depot’s program here.

Home Depot’s EcoOptions page is here, check it out!

Also, last but not least, go read this ridiculously awesome article by Routing By Rumor on compact fluorescent lamps.