Spurred by U.S. government regulations requiring improved lighting efficiency by 2012, researchers around the country are successfully turning the old, energy-burning incandescent bulb into a more efficient source of light. The New York Times reports that one company has already succeeding in producing incandescent bulbs that are 30 percent more efficient than older bulbs, which have changed little since the days of Thomas Edison and produce far more heat than light.
The new generation of incandescent bulbs still does not match the efficiency of compact fluorescent light bulbs, which use 75 percent less energy than old-style bulbs. But researchers say incandescent bulbs might one day become as energy-efficient as compact fluorescent bulbs by using new filaments and reflective coatings that bounce heat back onto the filament and convert that heat into light.
Philips Lighting has already created an incandescent 70-watt bulb that gives off the same amount of light as a traditional 100-watt bulb and lasts three times as long. The bulb costs nearly $5 — roughly ten times more than traditional incandescent bulbs — but researchers say that as efficiency improves and prices come down the new incandescent bulbs will be embraced by people who prefer the quality of incandescent light to fluorescent light.
This article originally appeared on Yale Environment 360 at http://e360.yale.edu
[photo credit: loop_oh]