For more than a century, incandescent bulbs or globes have been used as a staple light source for most houses and businesses. In 2007, the swirly CFL (compact fluorescent light) energy saver bulb was introduced to the mainstream market, pushing the energy hungry Incandescent onto the ‘death watch’ list for US congress.
Judged to be in-efficient in relation to the standards established in the broader Energy Bill, the US pushed for lighting sources that used at least 20-30% less energy, following examples set by Australia, Canada and Europe.
Dutifully, the world unscrewed the whole and screwed in the new, but without success. In the last year we have learnt the varied and numerous problems with the energy saver:
“Compared to the familiar, warm light of incandescent, the glow of the worst compact fluorescents could be harsh, even cadaverous. The new bulbs were sometimes too big to fit under light shades or into fixtures. They weren’t dimmable. They could take minutes to warm up. And despite prices of more than $10 per bulb, many compact fluorescents burnt out in mere months, not years as the packaging promised. Bad publicity piled up, and sales slowed. “As an industry, we overpromised the benefits that CFLs could deliver,” says Phil Rioux, a top executive with lighting giant Osram Sylvania. “We can’t repeat that mistake.”’
Another huge problem is the toxicity of the mercury that powers a CFL bulb. If left broken in or around your house, children or pets could come into contact with the mercury (which is poisonous)! The bigger issue though, is that when these lights are thrown away they are most likely to be landfilled, which would cause environmental poisoning by contaminating water/fish, and plants/animals. This in turn reaches humans through their food.
The new bulbs are called light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, and can produce light twice as efficiently than today’s compact fluorescents and last up to five times longer. And despite their still high up-front price, LEDs are popping up in everyday devices, from traffic lights to car signals to laptop screens, where their efficiency and durability are most valued.
Advanced as they are, LEDs are still expensive to buy, especially in South Africa as they have to be imported. After the empty promises of the energy saver, the public have shied away from the LED as many have recently ‘upgraded’ from incandescent. The difference with the LED light is that instead of a better version of old lighting technology, LEDs are truly representative of the digital age. In an incandescent bulb, light is given off by a filament, which heats up and wastes electricity. In ‘energy saving’ CFLs, the glow comes from electrified gasses. But in an LED, light emanates from a speck of electrically charged material — a diode, about the size of a pencil point — that’s created in a process similar to the way computer chips are made. To assemble a complete bulb, a few diodes are combined into an array, which is then attached to other electronics and placed under lenses and reflectors in a package shaped like a conventional light bulb.
Commercial buyers are taking on this new technology ahead of consumers. Because they use so much less electricity and need to be replaced so infrequently, “LEDs already pay for themselves in savings, which is why hotels and other businesses have been quick to switch,” says Jed Dorscheimer, a principal at market analyst Canaccord Adams. Consumers will be slower on the uptake considering their past with Earth friendly light products, and the costs related to importing and gaining access to LED lights.
Homie has rectified this problem, by importing directly from the supplier in China, without a middle man. This keeps costs down while still maintain the highest quality. These LED lights are available to South Africans for the best price possible, and come with a 3 year warranty that will ensure the consumer feels protected against cheap replicas or incorrect information. Also, Homie Trading as a company holds the belief that customers should be treated with respect and honesty, and will do their utmost to ensure the happiness of the customer and the beauty of their homes.