Tag Archives: LED

Lighting Science L-Bar is the Perfect Drop-in Replacement for Fluorescents

Originally published on CleanTechnica

Lighting Science, the manufacturer of the durable lightbulb, aka the Durabulb that also just happens to be powered by LEDs, has released another innovative LED lighting product that aims to replace standard 4′ x 2′ fluorescent light enclosures, called the L-Bar.

What is the L-Bar?

The L-Bar looks much like a single 4′ fluorescent tube would look if mounted directly to the ceiling but amazingly, the L-Bar puts out 4,500 lumens, which Lighting Science believes is sufficient to replace a traditional 4′ x 2′ fluorescent troffer.

l-bar

The L-Bar is revolutionary on just about every level — it comes in at half the price of both legacy fluorescent lighting installations and traditional LED replacement solutions while also putting out an impressive 150 lumens per watt. This makes the L-Bar an attractive option for new construction as well as for energy efficiency retrofit projects.

Small & Light = Easy Installation

The L-Bar doesn’t just bring sexy data sheet specs with it, but it also packs all this performance into a slender package, weighing in at just 19 ounces, which is a testament to the fact that it also uses ~95% less material to make than a standard 4′ x 2′ fluorescent lighting troffer.

This svelte form factor also makes installation a breeze compared to traditional fluorescents which typically weigh around 25 pounds. That isn’t a showstopper when carrying something at ground level but installing a 25 pound awkward metal tank overhead can be cumbersome and takes longer to install than these diminutive L-Bars that barely tip the scales in comparison at a mere 19 ounces.

l-bar

I put this to the test with the L-Bar and found that the removal of a traditional 4-ft x 2-ft fluorescent light troffer was cumbersome and nearly required two people.

Conversely, installing the L-Bar was a very simple matter and simply required mounting 3 small brackets to which the L-Bar clips into. Installation was no issue as the L-Bar is featherlight in comparison to the troffer I had just removed.

Not content to let the L-Bar be lost amongst the vast sea of LED offerings for legacy fluorescent retrofits, the Lighting Science team built the L-Bar to be wet-rated, which opens up new installation locations for it including parking garages, stairwells, and public areas in addition to the more traditional medical facilities, schools, and retail shops where legacy fluorescent installations reign supreme.

See the Light

To size this up, I put the L-Bar to the test in a real-life scenario in my garage, replacing an existing fluorescent troffer. As I noted above, installing the L-Bar really was much easier than removing the existing fluorescent troffer due to its lower size and weight. After wiring it up, I flicked on the power and after a brief delay, the little tube blasted to life.

The extremely bright, cool LED light poured out of the unassuming fixture in what looked like a flood from heaven. The fixture is so bright, it’s hard to look at considering how concentrated the light source is, and makes it easy to see that it puts out as much or more light than many fluorescent enclosures.

l-bar

In my small garage, the L-Bar is a clear winner in terms of light delivered in the space, and it’s not hard imagining that improvement translating to a larger space like an open office. The fact that the same light, or even a bit more, which was previously coming from 2 or 4 fluorescent bulbs was now coming from something the size of a single bulb was somehow irrelevant.

Given the affordable price, easy installation and long life expectation of the LED-powered L-Bar, it’s no wonder installers are flocking to it in droves for installations both new and old. It is an impressive piece of technology that serves as the new benchmark for LED fixture light output in a beautifully efficient package.

The L-Bar is not only a great fit for home garages and offices, but given the wet rating it carries, it can be installed in parking garages, exterior corridors, small businesses and even in more creative lighting installations.

The seemingly familiar form factor of the L-Bar stands out in stark contrast to traditional lightingl-bar solutions as all the light, and the entire shape of it, is contained in the form factor of a single fluorescent bulb.

That gives interior designers, installers and businesses new freedom in how they think about and implement lighting in their spaces. I don’t get excited about many products but LED lighting solutions — especially ones that improve on traditional lights in just about every way and make great candidates for fluorescent enclosure retrofits — represent easy cost savings on materials, lower installation costs, and energy efficiency improvements we should all be getting behind, as Scott documented so well.

In Summary

Lighting Science’s entire LS Earth Series of products (including the L-Bar) aim to develop and deliver high quality lighting solutions that make more efficient use of the materials that go into them, require less packaging, are easier to recycle AND save energy.

By all these measures (and maybe a few more that aren’t in the Lighting Science mission statement), the L-Bar is a beaming success and truly raises the bar for fluorescent-equivalent LED lighting.

Pete Rumsey, Executive Vice President of Business Development for Lighting Science puts a pretty nice bow on it:

“This is the type of LED solution that people have been waiting for to finally make the switch from traditional fluorescents. The L-Bar costs 50 percent less than both traditional LED and legacy fluorescent solutions while providing 150 lumens per watt. That’s pretty incredible performance for a lamp weighing in at a mere 19 ounces.”

For more information about the L-Bar, check out the official product page for all the juicy details or head straight to Amazon to pick a few up. I know I’m going to be looking for more opportunities to install these over the next few months.

Disclaimer: Lighting Science provided the L-Bar at no cost for review purposes, however, we were under no obligation to write anything, positive or negative about it.

Sources: Lighting Science and the Business Wire Press Release 

Images Credit: Lighting Science

 


The Durabulb LED Lightbulb Delivers Improvements In Unexpected Places

Durable and lightbulb aren’t two words that usually come up in word association challenges, but in the case of the new Durabulb LED lightbulb, those two have been married together and it turns out, they play very well together.

durabulb

The central reason for the Durabulb to exist is the fact that lightbulbs are typically very fragile. Lighting Science, the company behind the Durabulb, wanted to build a product that would excel in all environments including those where a fragile glass bulb would not fare well or could pose a safety risk. Specifically, industrial applications, garages and areas with workers underneath that could be hit by glass if an overhead bulb were to shatter are perfect for the Durabulb.

Beyond just a parlor trick for niche lighting scenarios, the Durabulb’s durability brings some serious potential when it comes to shipping. Traditional glass bulbs are packaged in bulky cardboard packaging designed to prevent them from breaking during transit. This results in a rather inefficient shipping density.

durabulb

With the Durabulb being so rugged, none of that extra packaging is required, allowing it to be shipped in a much tighter formation and eliminating any possibility of breakage. The two sample bulbs that were shipped to me were just tossed into an envelope and dropped into the USPS.

Higher density shipments, less worry about breakage during transit, no need to “handle with care,” and no need for shipping materials that don’t actually add value to the customer in the first place makes for huge wins all around when it comes to moving these things around the world.

At first, a durable lightbulb may seem like a minor innovation beyond the traditional glass bulb…until you unpack all of the benefits that the consumer doesn’t typically have to think about and you realize that the Durabulb represents a step change improvement in lighting while providing the same look and feel from a bulb that consumers have grown accustomed to.

durabulbFor me, I’m excited to get a few of these to put in the rooms where my kids play so I don’t have to worry anymore about them throwing something into a light ever again.

Check out the Durabulb over at Lighting Science or head on over to Amazon to read some reviews and maybe pick up a few.

Images credit: Kyle Field | CleanTechnica

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Putting A Price On Home Energy Efficiency

Originally published on CleanTechnica

Buying a house is an exciting part of life, the start of a new chapter, and frankly…freakin’ scary! Typically that’s not because of any spooky creatures but because of the massive mortgage that people usually take on to afford one, the number of things that can go wrong, and unforeseen financial burdens that these ‘money pits’ can become.

Many of the financial pitfalls can be identified early on in the buying process as part of a quality home inspection, but there’s one big dirty secret that many homes have that is a bit harder to wrap your head around when buying a new place – energy. I’m not talking about the qi (or ch’i) of the house or anything like that, but literally about the energy used by the house on an annual basis in all forms – electricity, natural gas, propane, heating oil, solar, wind, solar thermal, geothermal, etc

Let’s back up a bit. Pretend you’re buying a new car. Do you check the window sticker to see what options it comes with? How about the fuel efficiency? Estimated cost to operate for a year? Me too! …and it’s the same for a house. We want to know which energy options it comes with. Does it use natural gas for heating? Have a high tech heat pump in the basement that is dirt cheap to own and operate?

Fuel efficiency similarly translates into energy intensity. You thought I was going to say energy efficiency there, right? The actual metric for putting data behind this is the amount of energy used per square foot of the house. Roll that up over the size of the house and the months of the year and you get the mega-metric – the total cost of energy to operate for a year.

Before cars kept track of fuel efficiency, knowing what miles-per-gallon your car got was irrelevant to the market – you don’t care what your car gets and the market doesn’t value it…and it’s the same thing with a home. You can invest $15k in solar panels, $10k in energy efficiency improvements, and $3k in a new heat pump, but you’re not going to see much of that money rolling back into the valuation of the house because people don’t speak that language yet.

We need to retrain our brains, and the market, to accurately value not just the cost of the house but the cost to run the house month to month. For example, let’s dig in to the numbers on two houses:

  • House A is $1000/month to buy for 1700 square feet, but costs $300/month for the electricity bill and another $150/month to heat it.
  • Across the street, House B is also $1000/month to buy for the same 1700 sq ft footprint, but due to the solar panels on the roof and the extra insulation in the walls, floors, and ceiling, only costs $50/mo for the heating bill, with no electric bill to speak of.

Obviously the second house is worth more, and is a better value for the same purchase price. But just how MUCH more does an energy bill that’s $400 lower (every month!) make the house worth? Backing up a bit, how do we even quantify the monthly cost of energy for a house?

Putting a price tag on the cost of energy is the first step in getting a handle on the value of residential renewables – such as solar – into the valuation of the house. That allows homeowners to see the month-to-month cost and quickly extrapolate the cost of energy over the life of the house (the long term cost of energy).

This could be accomplished by reapplying the concept of the Energy Star label on appliances:

home_energy_rating

Beyond just the base concept of putting a dollar value on, and an increased visibility of, the cost of energy, less efficient homes are actually more risky to banks. Think about it. In the example above, house A carries an energy bill of $450/month vs house B with just a $50/month bill. That’s an extra $400 of monthly debt on house A that will never go away for the homeowner.

That effectively takes the monthly payment for the house from $1000 to $1450 whereas House B is only going to cost $1050/month – a huge difference. One of my favorite sayings that I’ve heard about solar is that it takes a monthly liability (the monthly bill) and turns it into an asset (increased value of the house).

Homes with higher energy bills are riskier investments for banks, as the monthly energy cost is not taken into account when the home is financed. It’s essentially a highly variable chunk of debt (particularly in this era of increasing efficiency and solar) that the bank not only doesn’t know about, but doesn’t seem to care about.

In markets where the energy bill is a large percentage of the mortgage, this can play a large factor in whether a homeowner can actually afford the full cost of the home or not. Further, the variations in energy price can, and likely often do today, single-handedly sink the homeowner’s monthly budget and kick the loan into default.

Finally, these energy costs can be rolled up over the life of the loan as part of the purchasing process. House B might only cost $18k in energy costs over 30 years whereas house A would tip the scales at $162k!! Granted, not many people are interested in stepping back and looking at the total cost of energy over 30 years, but lifetime costs often paint a picture compelling enough to trigger small changes.

If we looked at energy costs this way more often, solar and energy efficiency would be much more likely to have increased value when the house hits the market. Markets value what is measured. We need to measure energy use and turn consumption into an easy to understand comparable metric – like MPG is for fuel efficiency.

Doing that will trigger banks and financial institutions to dig a bit deeper into the value of energy efficiency and residential power generation as a part of the lending process and overall risk assessment. If Energy Use Intensity is being looked at by financial institutions, services like Zillow will start reporting EUI, which completes the cycle back to the consumers.

Homeowners would have more incentive to invest in technologies that are better over the long run and often for the planet, such as making that $5k investment in more insulation, spending $300 on LED light bulbs, or $15k on solar. Homeowners can have the confidence that they are making an investment in the house and in a reduction in monthly operating costs over the life of the home, or at least of the product being installed. For LEDs, that’s just 22.6 years…what a ripoff :)