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Early Adopters Don’t Have to Go All In

We all know someone who always seems to have it before you can buy it. My best friend, Joel, is a prime example. From backpack-sized car phones and the Turbografx 16 (although the gaming system was an epic fail, Bonk’s Revenge was the jam) to Reebok pumps and a portable mini-disc player, Joel has been first in line for a lot of stuff. Joel is a classic example of an early adopter.

Early adoption can have benefits. It really comes down to who you are and how you perceive them. Remember the scuttlebutt when the compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) hit the market? I do. Finally, there was technology we could all use that would make a positive impact on our environment. With the twist of a wrist we could cut greenhouse gases, save money, light our lives guilt free and we wouldn’t have to go bulb shopping for a decade or so. All the above we’re more than enough reason to get CFL happy. But then there was the price. The new CFL bulbs were e-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e, expensive. Many people shied away from getting on board.

Since then, CFL bulbs have become drastically more affordable and thus more people are using them. But, as the world turns a new player has entered the residential lighting game. Introducing, the light emitting diode (LED).

LED technology isn’t new. From your TV to your smart phone, many of you already have devices that use the technology. However, as far as lamps, sconces, and other home lighting applications, LED lighting is relatively new. Here is what the U.S. Department of Energy has to say about residential LED lighting:

– ENERGY STAR®-qualified LEDs last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs

– Using LEDs can account for 75% – 80% energy savings

– LED is one of today’s most energy-efficient and rapidly developing technology

And just like when CFLs were new to the market, LEDs are pricey. However, if you’re like 53% of the people, whom I recently polled through Yammer, you might consider yourself an early adopter. But being an early adopter doesn’t mean you have to replace every bulb in your house. In fact, there are entry level ways to adopt LED lighting without spending a fortune. For example:

– Battery powered puck lights: Great for closets, cabinets or places where you have inadequate lighting

– Grow lights: Perfect for indoor gardening

– Rope lights: Great for accenting indoor and outdoor features.

– Fish tank lights

Or if you’re bold and want to test drive an LED bulb, find a spot in your home where you can test it. Recently, one of our employees was curious about LEDs. So she decided to replace her kitchen sink CFL with an LED. She found the task light to perform extremely well. Now that the LED has passed her test, she plans on replacing other bulbs around the house.

Remember, being an early adopter doesn’t mean you have to become a fanatic. You just have to be willing to take a risk every now and then. In the case of technology, it’s not a matter of if something better will come along, it’s when. CFLs are great. LEDs are great. And, there will be a time when they become irrelevant too. But for now, they are our best option. That is unless, Joel knows something I don’t.

Article by Billy Draper, appearing courtesy Xcel Energy Blog.