The Voice for Industry
|July 8, 2009|
If rumors of a new federal stimulus package make you want to crawl into a fetal position beneath the bed, take comfort. Or, at least take a good reading light so you can read this story about the improbable possibility that good news sometimes flows from the intersection of government and commerce.
Two years ago, the United States joined the EU to flip the switch on that one-time marvel of 19th Century progress, the incandescent light bulb. Once responsible for helping to cheaply light up the world, the bulb appeared doomed by new energy efficiency standards scheduled to take effect in 2012. The problem? The bulbs generate lots of heat as well as light, an inherent waste of energy that is perhaps best illustrated by all the generations of sisters, moms, daughters and granddaughters who made half baked cookies in Easy Bake Ovens and all the dads and granddads who pretended to eat them.
Now comes word from the New York Times that the scheduled ban is inspiring inventors to successfully redesign incandescent bulbs that surpass the new energy standards.
Most of the new bulbs use new coatings for bulb interiors. The new coatings still let out light but they hold in far more heat. The redirected heat reduces the amount of electricity required to charge the filaments that make the bulbs glow, making them competitive with compact fluorescent lights and other new light sources.
The inventors are still working to make bulbs that can be mass produced cheaply. They claim they're close and they believe there'll be a market among those of us who prefer the warmer shades of incandescent bulbs to the sterile shine of fluorescent bulbs. Fluorescents are also hard to adapt to dimmer switches.
As the Times quoted one inventor: "We built a better mouse trap. Now we're trying to get people to beat a path to our door."
Seattle Industry is publishing a series of stories based on good news that might be obscured by the recession. The series is regrettably short to this point but we're still trying. If you have an idea for an item, send it in. Quick.
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