Thursday, July 30, 2009

The largest and most cost-effective form of greenhouse gas mitigation

Contact: Skip Laitner, 202-507-4029
Press contact: Patrick Mitchell, 703-276-3266
ACEEE "Diagnostic Review" Shows Most Economic Projections Off
By Wide Margin on Potential Energy Efficiency Benefits, Greenhouse Gas Cuts

Washington, D.C. (July 30, 2009): A new report from the nonprofit and independent American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) finds that many conventional climate economic impact studies misread the historical record on the nation's energy productivity opportunities. The Positive Economics of Climate Change Policies: What the Historical Evidence Can Tell Us suggests that most studies that evaluate so-called cap-and-trade policies either ignore or greatly understate the potential advances in energy efficiency, the largest and most cost-effective form of greenhouse gas mitigation.

"The evidence shows that productive investments in energy-efficient technologies can enable the U.S. economy to save money and to substantially reduce its greenhouse gas emissions - both immediately and by mid-century,"

said author John A. "Skip" Laitner, Director of ACEEE's Economic and Social Analysis Program.

As part of the study, Laitner conducted a diagnostic review of the recent assessments of the H.R. 2454 climate change legislation, also known as the Waxman-Markey bill, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a narrow margin on June 26, 2009. It is now under consideration by the U.S. Senate, with action likely this fall. Unlike most other studies, ACEEE's report find that U.S. consumers and businesses could see their energy bills cut in half by 2050.

"In contrast to climate policies based on international offsets and banking, an efficiency-powered policy can provide a benefit to the climate while actually causing a small but net positive increase in the nation's economy and employment," said economist and climate policy expert James Barrett, Ph.D., among those who reviewed the study for ACEEE.

This analysis builds on the many past and recent energy efficiency resource assessments by ACEEE, McKinsey & Company, the Boston Consulting Group, and others. "The evidence is compelling," Laitner noted. "With advances in new materials, new designs, and the emerging contributions from information and communication technologies, energy productivity gains can power the economy in new ways that reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

"U.S. economic performance over the last several decades demonstrates that energy markets and consumer behaviors are much more dynamic than is commonly assumed," stated ACEEE Research Associate Chris P. Knight. "The past and the anticipated future gains in technology performance indicate that a productivity-led climate policy can actually make the U.S. economy more competitive."

The Positive Economics of Climate Change Policies: What the Historical Evidence Can Tell Us is available for free download or a hard copy can be purchased for $25 plus $5 postage and handling from ACEEE Publications, 529 14th St, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20045, phone: 202-507-4000, fax: 202-429-2248, e-mail:


About ACEEE: The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting economic prosperity, energy security, and environmental protection. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, visit

Germans Hoarding Traditional Light Bulbs

And from an article just forwarded to me from my lovely wife -,1518,druck-638494,00.html

"The unpopularity of the energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs that will replace them is leading consumers and retailers to start hoarding the traditional bulbs.

In fact, in creating this legislation, the EU failed to address consumer preferences and the reservations of a number of other groups. For example, many have complained that the light emitted by a CFL bulb is colder and weaker and that its high-frequency flickering can cause headaches. Then there are complaints about the mercury the CFL bulbs contain, how there is no system for disposing of them in a convenient and environmentally friendly way, and how they allegedly result in exposure to radiation levels higher than allowed under international guidelines.

For some, the issue is also one of broken promises. For example, manufacturers of CFL bulbs justify their higher prices by claiming that they last much longer than traditional bulbs. But a recent test by the environmentally-oriented consumer-protection magazine ├ľko Test found that 16 of the 32 bulb types tested gave up the ghost after 6,000 hours of use -- or much earlier than their manufacturers had promised.

And then, of course, there's the issue of the light the bulbs emit. Many complain that the lights are just not bright enough and that they falsify colors. The Hamburger Kunsthalle, for example, recently made a bulk order for 600 incandescent light bulbs to make sure that it can keep illuminating the works it displays in the time-honored way."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Yet Another "dim bulb" Hazard

We just received a link from a friend at "Yet Another CFL Hazard"

This article refers to one on "Dim Bulbs" written last week by John Stossell the co-anchor of ABC News 20/20

We do have options:

"The first is to go out and buy up all the old-fashioned Edison bulbs before they become illegal. The second option is to try to get a family discount on hazmat suits. The final option is to just say no to dim bulbs."


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Competitive Technologies

I have received a couple of emails regarding the Blog expressing a concern that we are competition bashing. The information that we have posted regarding HIR, LED and CFL technologies are in response to inquiries we have received asking for our assessment of these potentially competitive technololgies. Rather than responding individually to multiple emails we decided to post our response on the blog. We have attempted to not give only our opinions on these technologies but more importantly to point to existing reports, studies, and resources that do a much better job than we would on analyzing these technologies.

In the future we will continue to address questions regarding competitive technologies, the politics of energy efficient lighting, trends, new products and also use the blog to deliver news on Vu1 and the progress of ESL as we move toward commercialization.

We currently have "Comments" disabled since I don't have the time to moderate the blog. I don't want to disappoint posters with lengthy delays in responding to questions posted. With that said - everyone should feel free to post questions via our "Comments" area on the Vu1 website (the website form routes your questions to a variety of resources at Vu1) and we will attempt to address your questions as soon as possible.

Monday, July 13, 2009

LED Bulbs 60% Failure Rate

We have wondered why LED bulb manufacturers often give a 2-year warranty. After all a 30,000 hour bulb should last appoximately 34 years under average use.

From the EternaLED Blog Site:

"60% of LED Bulbs DIE within 6 months"

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The "promise" of LED Lighting

The DOE has invested vast amounts of money to support the development of Solid State Lighting (SSL) = Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology. The good news is that the LED is not creating a "pending environmental disaster" as some have said about CFL technology and the "mercury problem". The bad news is that LEDs are coming up far short of delivering on their promise of being the perfect, long term solution to all of our energy efficient lighting needs. In a recent Webinar hosted by LEDs Magazine the following information on the residential usage of LEDs "came to light".

Creating viable (affordable and well performing) residential solutions will be hard work for the LED industry. Why?

  • They have to get to acceptable light quality, - good color rendering and good color temperature
  • They have to provide reasonable brightness with good energy efficiency. Lumens of 50+ lm/w. That means delivered not the claimed lab bench lumens.
  • They will need good light dissipation (not easy for a point light source)
  • They have look nice – not like shower heads
  • They have to do something about the huge amounts of heat sinking required
  • Many will need to work in their worst scenario environment – heat retaining recessed cans
  • They have to dodge the bad press that is going to occur from cheap, low quality, poorly performing products.
  • Their 10 year Total Cost of Ownership has to be at least as good as CFLs. Today they don’t even come close (they are 3x more costly). A Cree LR6 sells for $100+ a bulb. The GeoBulb sells for $120. The Philips E27 sells for $70. The inexpensive bulbs being sold for $12-15 give a hideous, blinding, blue/white laser type light that is very directional that cannot be dimmed. We call them "Corpse Lights". They give everyone that "morgue glow".
We are always surprised when we see an announcement that a new LED lamp bulb is a "replacement for a 40 watt incandescent". Philips just released their $70 E27 lamp bulb and makes this claim. The IEC 60064 standard for the illumination of a 40W bulb is 450 lumens. The Philips E27 is rated at 155 lumens. Is it accurate to state that a 155 lumen bulb is a 450 lumen bulb "equivalent"?

By the way, we believe that LEDs will be very successful in many applications such as automotive, street lighting, retail and specialty applications. Over time in homes we will see new lighting architectures emerging that will feature surface mounted LED lighting that will be able to function without the heat controlling issues that are most concerning to the LED industry. The LED industry is beginning to admit that they may only be successful in residential lighting if they can convince consumers to move to new LED "fixtures". Retrofitting into the 800 million recessed can fixtures in the U.S. (growing at over 20 million a year) is not going to be a market they will want to aggressively address. We are hoping that Vu1 ESL technology will be complimentary to LED technology. If we can provide an energy efficient soluton to the world of recessed can downlights then LEDs will be able to focus on more LED friendly enviornments.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

President Obama Seeks Better Light Bulbs

We at Vu1 have been saying for a while that "the easiest and most effective way for an individual to reduce green house emissions is to change to energy efficient light bulbs in their homes." Vu1 is working hard to a bring a cleaner, safer and better performing energy efficient lighting technology to market.

President Obama has proposed new aggressive standards to speed the implementation of energy efficient lighting in America. The new policies will have a very positive impact for Vu1. Our company's first product will be the reflector bulbs utilized in over 800 million recessed can fixtures in the USA. Reflector style bulbs had been previously been excluded from the upcoming ban on incandescent lamps. Under the new policy, reflector bulbs will have to meet aggressive new energy standards within the same timeframes as standard lamp bulbs. Vu1 hopes to be ready to answer the call for a highly energy efficient, great light quality, instant on, fully dimmable reflector bulb as these new standards come into place. The company is also looking into the $356 million in funding from the economic stimulus bill passed in February that is now being targeted at "the development, deployment and use of this energy-efficient technology”.

President Obama is asking for a "better light bulb". Vu1 would love for it to be "A light without compromise".

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Incandescent Bulbs Return to the Cutting Edge ???

An article was published by the NY Times over the weekend on a "new" incandescent bulb technology. We think not. Please feel free to look at the article and then let's separate fact from fiction.

This "new" technology is yet one more promise of a perfect solution "in the wings". Infrared incandescent technology was announced by GE two years ago and appears to have made little progress toward becoming a viable consumer solution. Philips has a few of the HIR (Halogen Infrared) bulbs they are selling on the European market. Facts conveniently not mentioned in the NYT article: a short life, explosion potential, they burn very hot, and require a complicated and potentially expensive optical coating process (Plasma Impulse Chemical Vapor Deposition) to produce and the "killer" issue ?? they are
not that energy efficient. HIR bulbs are not getting anywhere close to reaching their claims of potentially 40 lumens per watt. HIR bulbs tested late last year for the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy delivered a maximum efficiency of 18.5 lumens per watt. In comparison, a 100 watt Sylvania A19 light bulb delivers 1710 lumens. That would be 17.1 lumens per watt. I don't think I would consider a savings of 1.4 lm/w very energy efficient. A "
Mercury Bulb" (our name for a CFL bulb) that is a 100 watt replacement delivers over 71 lumens per watt providing a 77% energy savings over a standard incandescent bulb. Vu1 ESL technology is targeting a 70%+ energy savings for our first products. In GE's announcement in Feb of 2007 they claimed their target efficiency would be 30 lm/w. It appears that HIR and HEI bulbs are coming up far short of their target and their claims.

Welcome to the Vu1 Blog

There is a variety of news happening regarding energy efficient lighting, new technologies, government energy policy and especially a number of things that are going on at Vu1. Please join our Blog and we will try and keep you up to date on what we hear and what is happening.


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