May 8, 2009

Light Bulb Makers Talking Trash

A few companies peddling their cutting-edge, LED lighting products at this year’s Lightfair resorted to trashing — literally — fluorescent and incandescent lamps in their sales pitches.

A transparent trash pail filled with standard and C.F.L. bulbs, for instance, was set up at a booth belonging to Digital Light, and LED supplier. A glowing, LED-powered light stood triumphantly above the refuse.

According to a Digital Light representative, the message behind the display is that with the advent of ultra-efficient LED products, consumers can now toss out their fluorescent bulbs — along with incandescents, which are already being phased out by federal legislation.

(Digital Light distributes Lemnis Lighting’s 6-watt L.E.D. bulb, which Green Inc. wrote about on Wednesday.)

Meanwhile, another LED light maker, Cree, Inc., displayed large posters saying: “It’s time to break your fluorescent shackles.”

The company’s message? Consumers and office desk-jockeys have been suffering the unflattering light of fluorescent bulbs for too long. Cree claims its products cast an attractive, incandescent-like light, but with a lifespan of 50,000 hours.

“C.F.L.s started the conversation with consumers. LEDs are going to convert them,” declared Michelle Murray, a company spokeswoman.

The Fulham Company, whose core business is selling fluorescent lighting components, had the misfortune of having an exhibition space right next to Cree’s smack-talking booth.

Tom Woods, the company’s chief operational officer, believes Cree may be jumping the gun a bit with its fluorescent-bashing campaign – especially given that LEDs cost so much more and are relatively unproven.

“Today there are about as many people saying LEDs are the next great light of the future as there are people saying it’s not,” Mr. Woods said. “There is a place for every technology.”


By Leora Broydo Vestel
greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com
5-7-09

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