Sub-$20 LED bulbs now on Home Depot shelves

Finally, an update to a post I made in May about LED bulbs that are targeted at mainstream America and don't require you to visit some obscure store or distributor to buy them. Some of them also cost substantially less than the $50-ish pricetag that main of the well-known manufacturers are targeting.

Finally, an update to a post I made in May about LED bulbs that are targeted at mainstream America and don't require you to visit some obscure store or distributor to buy them. Some of them also cost substantially less than the $50-ish pricetag that main of the well-known manufacturers are targeting.

Home Depot is now stocking an extensive range of bulbs from Lighting Science Group, a company based in Satellite Beach, Fla., that manufactures its products in the United States. The ECOSMART product line starts with the common A19 fixture, which carries a retail price of $18.97, and ranges up to $44.97 for a PAR38 fixture (think floodlight).

The bulbs have been tested for performance and reliability under the U.S. Department of Energy's CALiPER program. They are supposedly about 80 percent more efficient that traditional incandescent bulbs and are designed to last up to 46 years, depending on how you use them. As someone who currently has to change some bulbs several times a year, that alone make the pricetag more palatable. Other fun facts: there isn't any mercury in these bulbs and you can include them with your recycling.

As many of you have doubtless read and debated, there is a law on the books (part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007) that would basically ban most incandescent light bulbs starting in 2012. About two weeks ago, several Republicans from the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill that would ban that ban. They claim that American jobs are being lost:

"The unanticipated consequence of the '07 act — Washington-mandated layoffs in the middle of a desperate recession — is one of the many examples of what happens when politicians and activists think they know better than consumers and workers. ... Thousands of American jobs have been shipped overseas as a direct consequence of this light bulb provision in the Democrats' 2007 energy bill."

It will be illuminating to see what happens. Meanwhile, I hope the threat of this reversal doesn't slow the pace of real innovation we're seeing in green lighting technology.

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