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Ex-Tesla and NASA Engineers Make a Light Bulb That’s Smarter Than You

Ex-Tesla and NASA Engineers Make a Light Bulb That’s Smarter Than You

Sometime in early 2013, one of the delivery operations engineers at Tesla leaned back in his chair and took a look around the Silicon Valley office. “It was a sunny day, and I looked up and I thought, ‘Why are these lights on with full power, when full sunlight is coming through the window?’” says Neil Joseph. An online search for a better, responsive bulb only yielded a few expensive commercial products. That October, Joseph (who says even as a kid, his two fascinations were lights and cars) left Tesla to start his own lighting company. The company is Stack, and its first product is Alba (alba is Italian for ‘sunrise’). The Alba bulbs are designed to work autonomously, both by adjusting light output based on sunlight and by learning and adapting to its owners’ household habits. As Joseph sees it, it’s the first in a new wave of lighting products to follow the Philips Hue and the LIFX. Those bulbs are smarter than the usual drugstore variety—they can sync with a smartphone app, and even keep rhythm with a song—but they aren’t intelligent by the same standards as the Nest Thermostat or even a tool like Google Maps. In short: They’re connected, but not responsive. More Than a Gimmick Embedded in Alba’s light diodes are sensors for motion, occupancy, and ambient light. This meant cofounder Jovi Gacusan, who worked on sensors at NASA, had to create a new core technology, because in order to work efficiently Alba has to […]

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How do plug-and-play T8s stack up against ballast-bypass LED lamps?

How do plug-and-play T8s stack up against ballast-bypass LED lamps?

Published on: July 22, 2014 By Laura Peters Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine and Illumination in Focus LAURA PETERS evaluates the photometric, electrical, and financial hurdles to retrofitting linear fluorescent lamps with LED-based tubes, including both plug-and-play products and tubes that require rewiring. In recent months, several manufacturers have introduced so-called plug-and-play LED linear lamps — fluorescent replacements that require no rewiring and simply snap into place (Fig. 1). These solutions are more expensive but easier to install than LED linear tubes that require removal of the ballast and direct connection to line voltage — a task best performed by a qualified electrician. However, both approaches have their pros and cons. And both approaches are significantly less expensive than replacing the whole fixture. FIG. 1. Installation of plug-and-play LED lamps such as these by Philips Lighting is as simple as replacing a bulb. We will review the performance and financial considerations associated with ballast-bypass and plug-and-play LED linear lamp installations for offices, schools, retail outlets, and hospitals. We will also discuss the electrical safety concerns that have been raised regarding LED linear lamps. Most importantly, the article will discuss the features to look for when considering LED linear lamp purchases.     Fluorescents versus LEDs: Then and now Philips estimates the current installed base of fluorescent tubes at 12 billion sockets globally. In 2010, the US Department of Energy (DOE) estimated there were nearly 1 billion fluorescent luminaires installed in the United States, 60% of which were T8s (tubular, 8/8- or […]

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By 2020, LEDs May Rival Incandescent Bulbs in Cost Without Rebates

By 2020, LEDs May Rival Incandescent Bulbs in Cost Without Rebates

The EIA and DOE are both bullish on LED lighting, but they differ slightly in their projections. Price wars among various consumer light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have been going on for the past year. Soon the price competition will spread not only to compact fluorescents but also incandescents, which are being phased out due to energy efficiency regulations enacted in 2007. New data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows how far the cost of LEDs has fallen since 2010. The agency projects that the technology will approach price parity with CFLs and incandescent bulbs around the end of the decade. A 2012 report from the U.S. Department of Energy, however, forecasts that LEDs will make up only 36 percent of lumen-hour sales in the lighting market in 2020, a figure that is expected to grow to 74 percent by 2030. But the DOE has already revised its projections upward three times in the past five years, as it noted in a solid-state lighting report this January. The department now has a goal of 224 lumens per watt efficacy at $0.70 per thousand lumens by 2020 for warm white LED bulbs. EIA’s projections would suggest that this is too ambitious a goal to achieve by 2020 in terms of lumens per watt; its forecast is closer to 150 lumens per watt by 2020. Between now and 2020, utility rebates will continue to be an important driver for customers who are wary of spending more than they have to on light bulbs, even […]

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As LED Industry Evolves, China Elbows Ahead

As LED Industry Evolves, China Elbows Ahead

China Elbows Ahead – NY Times GUANGZHOU, China — A year ago, China’s light-emitting diode industry seemed like a case study of industrial policy gone awry. Hundreds of factories built all over eastern China, often with lavish clean energy subsidies from state-owned banks and local governments, were operating at half capacity. The share prices of LED manufacturers were plunging. Now demand is surging, and the Chinese manufacturers suddenly find their factories running at full tilt, churning out LEDs faster and cheaper than global rivals. With a price war underway, the Chinese are taking share from top players in the United States, Europe and Japan, the industry pioneers that made crucial technological breakthroughs, and from Taiwan and South Korea, previously the leaders in low-priced LEDs. For some in the United States, the Chinese expansion has uncomfortable echoes of the solar panel and wind turbine industries, in which China went from a bit player to global leader through a combination of extensive government subsidies and low-interest loans from state-owned banks. “LED lighting could see itself become the next solar, wind or other future opportunity that the U.S. will have given away by failing to address Chinese industrial policies and unfairly traded products,” said Michael R. Wessel, a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a government advisory panel. Such industries have been at the center of increasing trade frictions between China and the United States. SolarWorld, a solar panel maker that complained to the American government about what it considered […]

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Light Ideas: Glowing Shelves

Light Ideas: Glowing Shelves

When space is at a premium, wiring under cabinet and accent lighting can prove tricky. Here is an ingenious trick for illuminating a wall using shelves as a light source. This “glowing shelf” effect is easily achieved using LED strip and acrylic shelving. Aurora created these glowing shelves using ST224 in warm white. For extra pizazz, try using the color-changing LED strip ST224RGB. Step-by-step Regarding the shelves, it might be worth a trip to the hardware store to purchase acrylic material the same or greater thickness than the LED strip you use. Also, make sure the edges of the acrylic material are a matte finish to reduce glare. Step 1: Create a space in the wall that is the same thickness as your acrylic shelves and your LED strip. It should also be the same length as your shelves and strip. Step 2: With the light source shining outwards, install the LED strip into the space you have created. Step 3: Slide your acrylic shelves into the space you have created. Again, the edges should be matte to reduce glare. Step 4: Secure the acrylic shelves with metal hardware or another material, depending on the purpose of the shelves and if they’re weight-bearing. Step 5: Turn on the LED strip for a new wall light that truly multi-tasks! As always, consult with a licensed professional before undertaking any new lighting installation. Frontier Lighting would be glad to assist you with this wall mounted LED lighting idea, or any other lighting projects you may have. […]

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Museums Warned About Using LED Bulbs and LED Lighting

Museums Warned About Using LED Bulbs and LED Lighting

        Museums are warned to reconsider the use of LED Lighting   Museums should proceed with caution when using LED lighting near paintings to prevent certain colors from further fading away. Recent testing shows that some of the  key works tested began changing bright-yellow color due to exposure to energy efficient LED lighting installed in museums worldwide. Samples of 14 works dated from 1887 and 1890 were tested for the reaction which affects an oil painting color that is know as Chrome-Yellow. According to the experts the bright-yellow pigment becomes unstable under LED lighting and over time turns a shade of brownish green. Scientists in Europe reportedly using x-ray technology analyzed the bright-yellow tones in key works from Van Gogh, Cezanne and Gaugin. They are asking museums to reconsider the use of LED lighting. LED lighting, so far on the surface, seems to be an energy efficient replacement for some traditional lighting , but since LED light bulbs and LED Lighting have only been in limited use in general lighting for 2 years or so, there is no collection of historical data on the long term performance, environment, health, or other affects (if any)  from the use of LED bulbs and LED lighting. Lighting applications or installation areas in the future may ultimately be deemed unsuitable for the use of LED lighting if specific negative impacts are discovered as the use of LED lighting in general lighting areas increases.   Sylvania’s Largest Independent Lighting Distributor in Florida! Frontier Lighting is an authorized distributor for Osram Sylvania and is Sylvania’s largest independent lighting distributor in Florida, and […]

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LED Light Bulbs and LED Lighting – Questions and Answers

Frequently ask questions about LED Light Bulbs and LED Lighting Products:    Q: Can I replace all my standard incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs with LED bulbs?  A: LED bulbs are now being manufactured in more shapes, sizes and wattages, some of these LED light bulbs do a great job at replacing the comparable halogen or incandescent bulb they are designed to replace, however, some types of lighting, especially linear fluorescent bulbs are already very efficient and are proven in the field to have a very long life (rated up to 62,000 hours) , so LED’s are not a good option when looking at those areas to convert. So the bottom line is that each lighting application needs to be analyzed separately to see what bulbs are currently being used and what LED product would replace that bulb, compare the wattage saved (if any) by switching to LED, figure the difference in lamp life, and add the savings of labor to replacement the current bulbs, then calculate the return on investment to see if it make sense to replace the bulbs. A worthwhile Return on Investment would be a business decision based on a financial returns , labor savings or other environmental considerations. Since LED’s are an emerging technologies the prices will most likely decline in the future and the effeciency and quality of LED bulbs will most likely go up  in the future, so you more than likely will be able to purchase a better quality bulbs in near future for less money.        Q: What makes an LED bulb different than a standard […]

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