The L Prize has garnered significant attention in the lighting industry because 60-watt incandescent lamps represent 50 percent of all the lighting in the United States, with 425 million sold each year. The Energy Department says that if all those lamps were LED equivalents, enough power would be saved to light 17.4 million American households and cut carbon emissions by 5.6 million metric tons annually.
The Energy Department fails to consider one very big thing, and that is winter. I will grant them the fact that in summer, current incandescents waste energy. But living here in Wisconsin, any time nighttime temps drop below sixty degrees, seasons known as spring, fall, and winter, that energy is not lost. Heat from incandescents is viewed as a waste of energy, but I will tell you unequivocally that the "wasted" heat from those bulbs keeps my furnace from kicking in as often during the colder two thirds of the year. The radiant heat that they give off also keeps me from turning my thermostat up to a higher temperature. If someone smarter than me can prove to me that the energy used to create the electricity for those bulbs is greater than the increased natural gas I'd use in a CFL world, I'll change my position. Until then, I will continue to warn that the "energy savings" that the government proclaims for new bulbs is a fallacy.