General Electric says it’s flipping the switch on compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). The tech giant is phasing out the coiled bulbs and shifting its focus to LEDs.
Although CFLs offered consumers a cheap, energy-efficient alternative to standard incandescent light bulbs, GE said on its media hub GE Reports that “few people will mourn the end of the CFL era.” Consumers have long criticized the CFLs’ harsh light quality, the bulbs’ incompatibility with dimmers and their lengthy delay in lighting a room.
GE said the popularity of CFLs peaked years ago, when the bulbs made up 30 percent of light bulb sales in the United States. In 2015, CFLs accounted for just 15 percent of bulb sales.
LED bulbs — praised for their energy efficiency and “warm” light — have been prohibitively expensive in the past. In 2012, an LED bulb cost $40 to $50. But the cost of LEDs has dropped significantly, according to GE.
Today, a 60-watt-equivalent LED bulb sells at Sam’s Club for $3.33 — a price point that helped LED sales grow 250 percent last year. LEDs now account for 15 percent of the 1.7 billion bulbs sold annually in the United States. GE expects that by 2020, LEDs will be used in more than 50 percent of U.S. light sockets.
GE noted that with LED bulbs’ 22-year life span, one bulb can light a child’s bedroom lamp from birth through college graduation.
“The time for LED is now,” John Strainic, GE Lighting chief operating officer, said in a statement. “LED is a platform that can replace every other light source that we have developed over 130 years.”
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