The Cree LED Light Bulb Article You Didn’t Know You’ve Been Waiting For
The world has not exactly been clamoring for another blog post about light bulbs, but it’s getting one anyway. Deal with it. Because I’m a bit obsessed with light bulbs, and I have to share my passion.
Why do I care so much about light bulbs? I don’t know. Ever since I shelled out sixty bucks in 1991 for an early compact fluorescent bulb, I’ve been interested in energy-efficient light technology. And the more I seem to care about it, the more apathetic everybody else seems to get. That’s cool….that’s how people think about a lot of things I care for; they just don’t give a shit.
But we should be giving more of a shit about light bulbs, because it’s important. Think about it: The invention of the electric light bulb is basically the jumping-off point for what we consider “the modern world.” Without the light bulb, our entire society basically stops existing. Without light bulbs, we’d still be stumbling around in the dark with our whale blubber lamps and our sooty stinking candles. No thanks. The light bulb was a godsend, and continues to be. But the traditional incandescent bulb Thomas Edison introduced 100+ years ago is still the king of the light bulb mountain, and that needs to change.
Incandescent bulbs are cheap, and they give off warm, welcoming light, but my God are the inefficient. Most of the energy needed to light them is wasted as heat. Compact fluorescents came along and have done a pretty good job of creating light much more efficient (about 70% more efficiently than incandescent), but they had issues that turned a lot of people off.
The light they produce isn’t quite the same as incandescent light….it’s ‘fluorescenty.’ Early bulbs produced an annoying hum or subtle flicker. Most are not dimmable. They contain mercury, which is nasty stuff to be dealing with if a bulb breaks. And even though the energy they save over their lifespan saves enough money to pay for the bulb many times over, their higher initial cost turned a lot of people off. That’s a bummer, because switching to more energy-efficient lighting is a super-simple, cost-effective way for anyone, EVERYONE really, to start reducing energy usage at home. That saves money, it reduces pollution from power plants, and reduces the need for stuff like coal, and oil, and uranium. It also really brings down climate-changing CO2 emissions. All good things.
Enter the LED bulb….Recent advances in LED technology has produced bulbs that are more affordable and work better than ever. LEDs have a lot going for them over CFLs, and one company, Cree, has been doing a lot to bring LEDs to the masses.
LED bulbs don’t have the issues that fluorescents do. They don’t hum. They don’t flicker. They’re dimmable.They’re mercury-free. They produce a light that I’d bet money most people couldn’t discern from incandescent. They last basically forever (25,000 hours. Do the math.) They’re super-efficient (Up to 85% more efficient than incandescents. The 60-watt equivalent bulb uses only 11 watts. Nice.) And they’re getting cheaper almost by the day.
Why am I so excited about these new Cree light bulbs? Because I think they’re going to go a long way towards getting more and more “regular” people (people who don’t spend an hour in the light bulb section at the hardware store pouring over wattages and Kelvin ratings, like I do.) into LED bulbs.
First, click on this image and look at that bulb. It looks like a light bulb, doesn’t it? One reason I believe CFLs and LEDs have been slow to catch on is their funky, unconventional shapes. For technical reasons, LED bulbs have required radically different styling in order to function properly. These new Cree bulbs, though? They look almost identical to the familiar shape of light bulbs we all think of when we think of a ‘light bulb.’ Cree calls them ‘radically normal’ and I couldn’t agree more.
Second, they’re cheap. Not cheap as in low-quality. Not at all….I have an earlier-generation Cree bulb and it’s awesome. Durable as all heck. These new bulbs promise more of the same. Cheap as in they’re not going to cost a lot. Under $10 per bulb, which is a steal. I paid almost $30 for an LED bulb just over a year ago. The prices are coming down fast. And with their longevity and energy savings, these Cree bulbs will save users well over $100 per bulb.
And finally, and one of the reasons I love Cree bulbs over any other, is that the company is committed to designing and assembling their LED bulbs here in the USA. I don’t know of any other company whose bulbs aren’t coming from China.
These awesome new Cree bulbs are available right now at Home Depot’s online store…. They should be available in Home Depot stores sometime in November. (The one drawback to Cree is that they seem to only be available through Home Depot.)
p.s. If you head to Home Depot right now, it looks like their earlier LED bulb models are on sale. Like I said, they’re great bulbs, and if you can get one for only 5 or 6 bucks, what are you waiting for???