One of the heroes from last months CES expo was the super efficient ECORE LED lightbulb developed by Toshiba. The introduction of the bulbs to the US market are part of Toshiba’s “Vision 2050” initiative, a long-term sustainability plan aimed at increasing the companies overall eco-efficiency. The performance lightbulbs produce a 265 lumen output (similar to a 40 watt incandescent) getting 50 lumen per watt and using only 5.3 total watts. In other words, a bulb that will last 40 times longer than traditional incandescent lightbulb (about 40,000 hours), is compatible with existing commercial and residential uses, and reduces CO2 emissions by 85 percent.
Though off-the-shelf LED technology like ECORE has been available in other countries like Japan for several years they have only begun to pop-up state-side. This has had a lot to do with cost, LED lighting remains a very expensive alternative to incandescent and fluorescent alternatives. A cost-benefit analysis of LED lights may have to cover many years to show any kind of compelling advantage to the average consumer. This is why factors such as CO2 emissions are crucial to understanding the true impact of such efficiency products, and to the conversion of more consumers to accept them. The advantages of energy efficient technologies have traditionally been expressed in terms of cost, which is certainly important. However, growing awareness of the environmental issues and the acceptance of sustainability principles by many has opened the door to greater considerations when it comes to adopting new technologies. By placing a greater value on long-term impacts such as CO2 emissions and potential maintenance/replacement liabilities, I think we will soon see a greater shift towards the advantages of LED and other still emerging technologies.